Finding Images of East Asia at Harvard and Beyond

4. Images of China and Inner Asia

This section provides information about links to and collections of historical photographs of China, as well as of Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and southwestern areas such as Yunnan. A brief bibliography of print works which reprint photographs of China or discuss the history of photography is given. Links are also included for other types of visual materials such as posters, news photographs, and postcards.

For more in-depth guidance, please contact Nanni Deng (617-495-0570), Asian Art Bibliographer for the Fine Arts Library, Xiao-he Ma (617-495-3394), Librarian for the Chinese Collection of the Harvard-Yenching Library, or Nancy Hearst (617-495-5753), Librarian of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies Collection of the Fung Library.

Historical photographs online

Bibliography of Photo Albums and Materials related to Photography in China and Tibet before 1949 / 1949年前中国摄影史文献资料库
Provides descriptions of several hundred albums, including information on the photographers and type of equipment employed as well as on the places and people portrayed.

Displaying the Forbidden: Images of China's Imperial Palaces
Searchable and browsable photographs of the Forbidden City taken by Osvald Siren from the early 1920s. Includes information on Siren, the palaces, and a bibliography.

Ethnological Collection of Southwestern China 村寨網 -- 中國西南少數民族
Photographs, texts, maps, and other materials relating to non-Han peoples in southwestern China. Texts and images come from the ethnological collection of the Institute of History and Philology of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. Images may be searched or browsed. The image database may be accessed directly at

Luella Delamarte Dawson Photographs of China, 1923-1925
Description of a collection of photographs of early twentieth-century China held by the University of Delaware Library.

Robert Henry Chandless Photographs
Images from the photographic archive of Cambridge University Library's Royal Commonwealth Society. Also includes biographical information on photographers active in Asia.

Virtual Shanghai: Shanghai Urban Space in Time - Shanghai in Images
Collaborative project by the Institute of East Asian Studies (Lyon 2 University - Lyon 3 University — CNRS), the Center for Chinese Studies (University of California, Berkley) and ECAI (Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative). Provides access to and information about over a thousand images of historical Shanghai and other major Chinese cities.

Shanghai Library Collection of Images of the Anti-Japanese War 纪念抗日战争胜利六十周年--上海图书馆馆藏抗战图片库
Organized into five categories (people人物, places 地点, topics 主体, times 时间, and incidents 事件) for browsing and searching. Includes digitized texts as well as photographs. Each image is accompanied by a record identifying it and providing links to relevant times, incidents, etc.

Tibet Visual History Online
Interactive web site displaying part of the collection of historical photographs of Tibet taken between 1908 and 1950 and held by the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University. Albums include buildings, ceremonies, everyday life, landscape, material culture, people, and places.

Yūhō Bunko Collection of the Research Institute for Oriental Cultures of Gakushuin University 学習院大学東洋文化研究所所蔵・友邦文庫
Includes early twentieth-century photographs of Korea, Manchuria, and Inner Mongolia taken by Japanese photographers are available as image files via Gakushuin University's online catalogue. Please note that a plug-in is required. For a more complete description of the collection, see the Digital Resources for Korean Studies page.

See also the following sites at Harvard University:

More information about these and other collections is available in the Photographic Collections at Harvard section.

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Books of historical photographs


Lao cheng shi 老城市
Published by the Number 2 Historical Archives 中国第二历史档案馆 in Nanjing, this series has produced volumes for a number of cities, including Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kunming, Lhasa, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Suzhou, Wuhan, Xi'an, and Yangzhou. Some have been translated into English. Individual volumes are shelved separately at Harvard-Yenching Library, so call numbers must be found for each. To see a list of volumes held by the library, do a "Series" search in HOLLIS for "lao cheng shi."

Lao zhao pian, 1900 A.D.- 1997 A.D. : 20 shi ji Zhongguo tu zhi 老照片, 1900 A.D.- 1997 A.D. : 20 世纪中国图志/ ["Lao zhao pian--20 shi ji Zhongguo tu zhi" bian ji wei yuan hui ; zhu bian Nan Zhaoxu, Ji Zhongming].
Beijing : Tai hai chu ban she : Quan guo xin hua shu dian jing xiao, 1998. 3 vols.
Harvard-Yenching (C) DS774 .L27 1998
HOLLIS record
Three volume set of photographs of twentieth-century China.

Lao zhao pian xi lie tu ji = Old photos, a series of picture albums 老照片系列图集 = Old photos, a series of picture albums, a series of picture albums / Zhongguo di er li shi dang an guan bian.
Nanjing Shi : Jiangsu mei shu chu ban she, 1997-
Harvard-Yenching | (C) | DS775.2 .L36 1997x
Published by the Number 2 Historical Archives 中国第二历史档案馆 in Nanjing, this series produces thematically organized volumes of photographs.
HOLLIS record

Xu, Chengbei 徐城北. Lao Beijing. Xiang mai min feng 老北京. 巷陌民风.
Nanjing Shi : Jiangsu mei shu chu ban she, 1999.
Harvard-Yenching |  (C)  | DS795.3 .H78 1999x
HOLLIS record
English translation also available.


The Face of China as seen by photographers & travelers, 1860-1912 / pref. by L. Carrington Goodrich ; historical commentary by Nigel Cameron.
Millerton, N.Y. : Aperture, c1978. 159 p.
Fine Arts | FA10242.52
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS761 .F28
Rubel (Fine Arts) | Harvard Depository | A7044.1 F138
Widener | Harvard Depository | DS761 .F28 Consult Circ. Desk for HX75CT
HOLLIS record

Imperial China : photographs 1850-1912. / historical texts by Clark Worswick and Jonathan Spence, with a foreword by Harrison Salisbury.
[New York] : Pennwick Publishing : [distributed by] Crown, c1978. 151 p.
Botany Arboretum | Ve Im7
Fine Arts | FA10242.52.5
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS709 .I47
Widener | WID-LC | DS709 .I47
HOLLIS record

Molixun yan li de jin dai Zhongguo 莫理循眼里的近代中国 Old China through G. E. Morrison's eyes / Compiled by Shen Jiawei 沈嘉蔚 ; trans. by Dou Kun et. al. 窦坤等.
Fuzhou : Fuzhou Education Press, 2005. 3 vol.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS709 .M65 2005x
Text in Chinese and English.
HOLLIS record

Beers, Burton F. China in old photographs, 1860-1910.
New York : Scribner, c1978. 160 p.
Fine Arts | FA10242.52.7
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS709 .B43
Widener | Harvard Depository | DS709 .B43 Consult Circ.Desk for HX74PP
HOLLIS record

Boerschmann, Ernst, 1873-1949. Old China in historic photographs : 288 views.
New York : Dover Publications, 1982.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS710 .B65913 1982
Widener | Harvard Depository | DS710 .B65913 1982 [Consult Circ. Desk for HX74PQ]
HOLLIS record

Gamble, Sidney D. Sidney D. Gamble's China, 1917-1932 : photographs of the land and its people
Washington, D.C. : Alvin Rosenbaum Projects, Inc., 1988. 191 p.
Harvard-Yenching | Rare (W) | DS774 .G26 1988 FOLIO
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS774 .G26 1988 FOLIO
HOLLIS record

Gamble, Sidney D. Sidney Gamble's China revisited : photographs by Sidney D. Gamble from 1917 to 1931 / Ed. by Nancy Jervis.
New York: China Institute; Norwalk, Conn.: Distributed by EastBridge c2004. ix, 88 p.
Fine Arts | FAL-LC | DS774 .G267 2004
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS774 .G267 2004x
HOLLIS record

Harris, David. Of battle and beauty : Felice Beato's photographs of China
Santa Barbara, CA : Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2000. 185 p.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | TR820.6 .H37 1999
Widener | Harvard Depository | TR820.6 .H37 1999 Consult Circ. Desk for HX1RJF
HOLLIS record
Photographs of British-Chinese conflicts in the nineteenth century.

Morrison, Hedda. A photographer in old Peking.
Hong Kong ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1985. ix, 266 p.
Loeb Design | DS795 .M84
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS795 .M84 1985
Widener | WID-LC | DS795 .M84 1985
HOLLIS record
Chinese translation (HOLLIS record) also available.

Morrison, Hedda. Travels of a photographer in China, 1933-1946.
Hong Kong ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1987. vii, 246 p.
Loeb Design | DS710 .M495x
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS710 .M495 1987
Widener | WID-LC | DS710 .M495 1987
HOLLIS record

Nani, Leone. Lost China : the photographs of Leone Nani / [edited by Clara Bulfoni and Anna Pozzi]. 
Milan : Skira Editore S.p.A, 2003. 223 p.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS710 .N36 2003x FOLIO
HOLLIS record

Pearce, Nick. Photographs of Peking, China 1861-1908 : an inventory and description of the Yetts collection at the University of Durham : through Peking with a camera.
Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2005. vii, 192 p.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | TR102.B45 P43 2005
HOLLIS record

Spence, Jonathan D. and Annping Chin. The Chinese century : the photographic history of the last hundred years.
New York : Random House, 1996. 264 p.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS755.2 .S64 1996 FOLIO
Widener | Harvard Depository | DS755.2 .S64 1996 Consult Circ. Desk for HN8TFC
HOLLIS record

Thiriez, Régine. Barbarian lens : western photographers of the Qianlong emperor's European palaces.
[Amsterdam] : Gordon and Breach, c1998. xxiii, 191 p.
Dumbarton Oaks | DS795.6 .Y8 T45 1998
Fine Arts | FA1785.5.31
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | TR102.P4 T45 1998x
HOLLIS record

Thomson, J. (John). Through China with a camera.
London ; New York : Harper, 1899. xv, 269 p.
Harvard-Yenching | (W) | DS709 .T48 1899x
Widener | Ch 168.99.7
HOLLIS record

Xu, Chengbei, 1942- Old Beijing. People, houses and lifestyles / text by Xu Chengbei ; [translated by Huang Youyi & Cong Guoling ; English text edited by Foster Stockwell].
Beijing : Foreign Languages Press, 2001. 223 p.
Widener | WID-LC | DS795.3 .X8313 2001x
HOLLIS record

Japanese-language works

Kinen shashinchō. 記念寫眞帖. / Taiwan Ginkō. 台湾銀行.
[Taiwan : Taiwan Ginkō, Taishō 8 i.e. 1919].
Harvard-Yenching | J 4565 4382.3
HOLLIS record

Minami Manshū shashinchō = Views in South Manchuria 南満州写真帖 / [henshū Mifune Shūkō].
Eikō [Ying-k'ou shih] : Mifune Shashinkan, Meiji 43 [1910].
Harvard-Yenching | J 3052.8 1222
HOLLIS record
Captions in Japanese and English.

Shinkoku Pekin kōjō shashinchō 清國北京皇城寫眞帖 / Tōkyō Teishitsu Hakubutsukan hensan ; kaisetsusha Itō Chūta ; eiyakusha Tomiogi Tomoyoshi ; kan'yakusha ; Aoyagi Atsutsune ; satsuei seihansha Ogawa Kazuma. 東京帝室博物館編纂; 解說者伊東忠太; 英譯者富尾木知佳; 漢譯者青柳篤恒; 撮影製版者小川一眞.
Tōkyō : Ogawa Kazuma Shuppanbu, Meiji 39 [1906].
Harvard-Yenching | Harvard Depository | J 6565 5003 FOLIO
HOLLIS record
Photographs of the imperial palace buildings and city in early twentieth-century Beijing. Chinese translation also available (HOLLIS record).

Taiwan shashinchō. 臺灣寫眞帖.
[Taipei] : Taiwan Sōtokufu Kanbō Bunshoka, Meiji 41 [1908].
Harvard-Yenching | J 3470.9 4322
HOLLIS record
Photographs and description of early twentieth-century Taiwan. Text in Japanese and Chinese, with legends also provided in English.

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Contemporary photographs and other images

China News Daily Photo and Image Albums CND图片资料中心
The site currently hosts two sets of albums:

"Cultural Revolution" Photo Archive 文革图片资料:photographs covering a range of topics and persons, including sent-down youth, Mao Zedong 毛泽东, Lin Biao 林彪, and particular campaigns. Each image has a brief explanation in Chinese of what is portrayed.

CND 漫画展览: Cartoons contributed by CND readers.

Chinese Pamphlets 連環畫 : Political communication and mass education in the early period of the People's Republic of China
Mass education materials published in Hong Kong and in mainland China, particularly Shanghai, between 1947 and 1954 by Nationalist and Communist supporters. Includes cartoon books, pamphlets, postcards and magazines on a wide range of topics. English translation provided for some items. Digitized by e-collections at the Center for Research Libraries.

Morning Sun 八九点钟的太阳
Links to images, photographs, documents, and film about the Cultural Revolution by the Long Bow Group.

Stefan Landsberger's Chinese Propaganda Poster Pages
Reproductions and descriptions of posters from post-1949 PRC. Includes translations into English of the slogans on the posters when cursor is placed over them.

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Page Last Reviewed: January 8, 2016