Images show everyday life in China and Japan during mid-19th century


These incredible photographs are believed to be among the earliest of their kind in existence and offer an fascinating insight into life in the Far East during the 1860s.

The images, which form part of a captivating magazine, show life in China and Japan during the mid-19th century, and portray villagers going about their day-to-day tasks.

At an auction in Cirencester today, the photographs sold for more than six times their £2,000 guide price, with an anonymous buyer winning a bidding war to purchase them for £12,500.


One of the most intriguing aspects of the photographs is that they do not show powerful emperors or important military figures, focusing instead on gamblers and weavers going about their business.

Among the collection is a picture of two Chinese fruit sellers, while another shows men scrambling up a ladder and into a window.



The photographs are taken from the ‘China Magazine’, which began as a weekly publication on March 7, 1868 and continued monthly until it reached its fourth and final volume in 1870.

The volume contains a total of 46 photos of varying sizes, but four of those are duplicates and one is a defective picture.

Apart from containing a number of photographs unpublished elsewhere, the magazine contains interesting feature articles which throw light on life in mid nineteenth-century China, with Hong Kong featuring prevalently.


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