British photographic history

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Book: China in Revolution: The Road to 1911

China in Revolution assembles a remarkable survey of historical photographs from leading collections around the world. The images stretch from the Second Opium War to the Boxer Rebellion and wars with Russia and Japan, the outbreak of revolution, through the rise and fall of Yuan Shikai and the ensuing warlord era.

The 1911 Revolution ended dynastic rule in China and paved the way for the founding of Asia's first republic. Triggered by an accidental bomb explosion in Wuchang (modern-day Wuhan), the revolution marked the culminating point of decades of internal rebellion, foreign aggression and political decline; its leaders drew on a ferment of reformist and revolutionary ideas produced by some of China's greatest modern thinkers. Although 1911 did not resolve China's problems, it changed the country for ever, clearing a path for modernisation, and making possible the more decisive revolution of 1949. 

For this book, Liu Heung Shing set off on a year-long journey searching for original copies of photographs that suited the theme, often travelling to museums, libraries and visiting owners of private collections across many continents.  

Using advanced restoration technology, Liu chose 900 plus photos out of 10,000. It include 300 images that have never been published before, such as American Homer Lea training the New Army in 1904 in California. 

There are a large number of photos showing ordinary people in their daily lives in scenes from1850 to 1928, mostly taken by foreign priests, businessmen, diplomats and travellers.

The book is available in two English versions, by both the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, and Hong Kong University Press in cooperation with Columbia UniversityPress, on this link here. Or try the Amazon link on the right.

A talk on the book given by Liu himself has also been scheduled, details of which can be found here.

 

 

Photos: An old woman in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in 1869; A woman missionary in sedan chair in Quanzhou, Fuijian province, 1894.

 

 

 

 

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