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China Perspectives
Rare 19th Century photographs of Chinese life

Rare 19th Century photographs of Chinese life have gone on display in Beijing. John Thomson, a Scottish photographer who visited China from 1868-72, took them. (Pictures courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London)

This is a missionary-run school in Beijing. Most of these schools were devoted to teaching religion and classic Chinese texts.

Mr Thomson also took photographs of family scenes during his visits. This is a noble lady with her daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Beijing.

Foreign visitors to China in the 19th Century were sought out by antique dealers, such as these in Beijing.

This is the approach to a Ming Dynasty emperor"s tomb in the former Chinese capital of Nanjing.

In this image of a married couple from Xiamen, a port city in south-eastern China, the husband is looking away because at the time it was thought improper for a couple to face each other.

In this photograph, also taken in Xiamen, Mr Thomson - and early pioneer of photography - is pictured himself with two imperial soldiers.

Some Chinese women used to have bound feet, which were crushed to make them look more "beautiful". Here a bound foot is photographed with a natural female foot.

This young woman was photographed in the city of Guangzhou in southern China. Mr Thomson used his photos to educate British people about the country.

A view of a fashionable area of Macau, which was a Portuguese colony until 1999. Mr Thomson was based in the neighbouring British colony of Hong Kong. The exhibition takes place at Beijing World Art Museum until 18 May.

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