Jade Belt Bridge & Marble Boat


Stephan Loewentheil of Brooklyn is a rare book/photo collector who’s a lot of 19th century photos of China. They’re having one right now, 120 original photos at Qinghua University, till March 2019.

These photos are taken at Summer Palace by Thomas Child who in May 1870,”was hired by the Imperial Maritime Customs Service to be a gas engineer in Peking (Beijing). The 29-year-old Englishman left behind his wife and three children to become one of roughly 100 foreigners living in the late Qing dynasty’s capital, taking his camera along with him. Over the course of the next 20 years, he took some 200 photographs, capturing the earliest comprehensive catalog of the customs, architecture, and people during China’s last dynasty. ”


This is an early photograph of Jade Belt Bridge, or Moon Bridge, LOCated on the grounds of the Summer Palace in Beijing on the western shore of Kunming Lake. The elegant high arch bridge is a traditional Chinese design. The arch was constructed high enough to allow passage of the Emperor’s dragon boat. On special occasions the Emperor and Empress travelled on Kunming Lake passing under this bridge.”


Child took this photograph of the Marble Boat, or the Boat of Purity and Ease, in the 1870s, after it suffered damage from the Second Opium War. Child noted: “At one time there was a summer house on it, but it has entirely disappeared.” The base of the boat is made of solid stone. It originally supported a traditional Chinese wooden pavilion that was burned down during the conflict in 1860. The pavilion was rebuilt in 1893, decades after this photograph was taken.”

The following two are taken by Qin Qiang on 2018.11.21

 

Btw, some the photos are at LOC – Library of Congress in DC. If you visit their site recently, you’ll see the Statement to commemorate the 13th Librarian, Dr. James Billington who passed away on November 21, 2018. He’d been with the LOC for 28 years and raised half a billion dollars in private support – he must be a charmer as well as an able administrator. The statement credited him with

  • doubled the size of the Library’s traditional analog collections, from 85.5 million items in 1987 to more than 160 million items
  • acquired the only copy of the 1507 Waldseemüller world map (“America’s birth certificate”) in 2003
  • reconstructed Thomas Jefferson’s original library
  • obtained a complete copy of Lafayette’s previously inaccessible papers from the Lafayette family’s castle at LaGrange, France
  • advocated for an underground connection between the Library and the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center

RIP Dr. and thank you!


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