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Rare Historical Photos of China and Hong Kong from 1868-1872 by a Scottish Photographer

John Thomson, a Scottish photographer and travel writer, traversed China four times during the second half of the nineteenth century. He captured scenes and people from all walks of life, including ministers, high-ranking officials, wealthy traders, street vendors, brides, boat women, monks, and soldiers, leaving a lasting legacy of China’s landscapes, architecture, communities, and customs.

#1 A Foreign Settlement, Shantou, Guangdong, 1871

A Foreign Settlement, Shantou, Guangdong, 1871

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#2 A Cantonese Schoolboy, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 1869

A Cantonese Schoolboy, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 1869

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#3 A Manchu Bride, Beijing, 1871

A Manchu Bride, Beijing, 1871

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#4 A Boatwoman, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 1869

A Boatwoman, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 1869

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#5 Sedan Chair, Hong Kong, 1868

Sedan Chair, Hong Kong, 1868

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#6 The Veranda of a Chinese Teahouse, Hong Kong, 1868

The Veranda of a Chinese Teahouse, Hong Kong, 1868

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#7 A Cantonese Family of Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1869

A Cantonese Family of Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1869

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#8 Praya or Des Voeux Road, Hong Kong, 1869

Praya or Des Voeux Road, Hong Kong, 1869

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#9 Cochrane Street with Lyndhurst Terrace slices across the background, Wellington Street crosses the middle and a pawn shop on the Northeast corner, 1870

Cochrane Street with Lyndhurst Terrace slices across the background, Wellington Street crosses the middle and a pawn shop on the Northeast corner, 1870

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#10 Queen’s Road East, close to where the old Wanchai Market is, Hong Kong, 1869

Queen’s Road East, close to where the old Wanchai Market is, Hong Kong, 1869

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#11 Regatta at Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, 1871

Regatta at Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, 1871

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#12 Kellett’s Island, looking west or WSW across Wanchai towards Central and the Peak, with HMS Princess Charlotte, 1858

Kellett’s Island, looking west or WSW across Wanchai towards Central and the Peak, with HMS Princess Charlotte, 1858

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#13 Pedder Street, looking north from the intersection with Des Voeux Road, Hong Kong, 1869

Pedder Street, looking north from the intersection with Des Voeux Road, Hong Kong, 1869

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#14 A Chinese Portrait Artist, Hong Kong, 1869

A Chinese Portrait Artist, Hong Kong, 1869

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#15 Cemetery in Happy Valley, with the gable end of the roof of the Chapel of Ease appears behind the bamboos on the left edge, 1869

Cemetery in Happy Valley, with the gable end of the roof of the Chapel of Ease appears behind the bamboos on the left edge, 1869

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#16 Racecourse, Happy Valley, from the south side of Morrison Hill looking ESE over the race course to Jardine’s Lookout, Hong Kong, 1869

Racecourse, Happy Valley, from the south side of Morrison Hill looking ESE over the race course to Jardine’s Lookout, Hong Kong, 1869

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#17 City Hall with two posed Chinese males at the base of the building’s near corner, 1869

City Hall with two posed Chinese males at the base of the building’s near corner, 1869

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#18 Lyndhurst Street in the Central District during H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh’s brief visit in 1869

Lyndhurst Street in the Central District during H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh’s brief visit in 1869

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#19 Fishtail Rock (To Kwa Wan Island or Hoi Sham Island) off To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, 1869

Fishtail Rock (To Kwa Wan Island or Hoi Sham Island) off To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, 1869

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#20 An old woman on street, Guangzhou, 1868

An old woman on street, Guangzhou, 1868

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#21 A Cantonese beauty holds an open painted fan and stands before a folding screen Guangdong, 1869

A Cantonese beauty holds an open painted fan and stands before a folding screen Guangdong, 1869

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#22 A Cantonese Woman, Guangdong, 1869

A Cantonese Woman, Guangdong, 1869

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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