An Amoy couple

Xiamen, Fujian 1870 - 1871

archive photo of a man and woman in traditional Chinese costume

© The Wellcome Library, London

This Amoy couple are standing in front of a European-style house. Thomson's intention was to show the costume and general appearance of local people. This couple is well dressed, in particular the woman with her beautifully embroidered silk robe. This suggests they were from a fairly wealthy family. According to Thomson there were quite a few wealthy Chinese merchants in Amoy at the time, living in beautiful, upmarket houses.

There is another photograph of the same couple in the exhibition (not featured on the website). In the other photograph they are sitting close together with the husband looking away. In traditional China it was improper for a couple to face one another. It seems that the scene was set up by Thomson, with the couple looking rather hesitant.

Chinese translation

A pdf of the information about this image in Chinese is also available to download:

Chinese translation: An Amoy couple label text