Teacher guide John Thomson's China I: illustrations of China and its people, photo albums, 1873-74 - essay by Allen Hockley

TLF ID M006974

This is a collection of online materials focusing on the photographs taken by Scottish photographer John Thomson (1837-1921) during his travels throughout China from 1868 to 1872. The materials centre on a richly illustrated essay by Allen Hockley about Thomson and his views of China. Linked to various sections of the essay are an image sequence from Thomson's 'Upper Yangtsze' trip, a set of photographs about tea production, and another set illustrating ways in which the photographs were varied. The images illustrate and support ideas put forward in Hockley's essay.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This collection provides a wealth of primary sources highly valuable for historical studies of China in this period. Allen Hockley, associate professor of art history at Dartmouth College, has selected photographs and accompanying captions from John Thomson's groundbreaking photographic survey of 19th-century China to illustrate his essay, the main feature of this collection.
  • Hockley's essay focuses on how Thomson's intentions and Western point of view influenced the historical sources he created. Hockley concentrates on five topics: how Thomson created a travel narrative for his readers; Thomson's photographs and descriptions of the Western treaty ports; his ethnology (the Pepohoan people of Taiwan) and exploration (journey up the Yangtze River); his attempt to classify the people of China into 'types'; and how he positioned China's historic architectural monuments.
Year level

9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • The Arts
  • History

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: Allen Hockley
  • Description: Author
  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Person: Allen Hockley
  • Description: Author
  • Publisher
  • Name: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: Massachusetts, UNITED STATES
  • URL: http://web.mit.edu/
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Online
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2008 Visualizing Cultures. Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0.