Teacher guide John Thomson's China III: illustrations of China and its people, photo albums, 1873-74 - albums and galleries

TLF ID M006976

This is a collection showing the contents of all four volumes of 'Illustrations of China and its people' by Scottish photographer John Thomson (1837-1921). The volumes present 200 of the photographs he took when travelling throughout China between 1868 and 1872, and include the introduction and captions he prepared for publication. Each volume is presented in two views - in the original pagination and as a gallery. The covers and pages can all be enlarged.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This collection provides all the published images from the most extensive photographic survey of China undertaken in the 19th century. These unique primary sources are pivotal for detailed historical studies of China in that period, and much earlier in the case of some of the images. They encompass areas such as everyday lives of men and women, occupations, transport, fashion, farming, trade and commerce, art, architecture, technology and religion.
  • Thomson set out his opinions about the people and scenes he photographed in the introduction and captions he wrote later. These texts are historically valuable in their own right. They reveal the thoughts of the first Western photographer to travel widely throughout China and provide an insight into the imperialist world view and deep-seated sense of superiority held by most foreigners in China at that time.
Year level

9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • The Arts
  • History

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Person: John Thomson
  • Description: Photographer
  • 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.