A Manchu bride

Beijing 1871 - 1872

archive photo of Chinese woman in traditional costume

© The Wellcome Library, London

Thomson took many photographs of Manchu brides and their magnificent wedding costumes. In this example he adopted a style that is both discreet and intimate, showing his sensitivity towards the sitter. The glimpse of sadness in her eyes reflects a gloomy view of a Manchu bride's prospects in marriage. For Thomson it was reckoned a life of slavery, in which the wife "is even liable to be beaten by her mother-in-law, and husband too, if she neglects to discharge her duties as general domestic drudge".

Chinese translation

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

Chinese translation