Shaman dancers, coolies and suffragettes: rare photos of 1900s Beijing discovered from Austrian archive

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tags: Beijing, photography



When a relative of a long dead Austro-Hungarian navy soldier approached Gerd Kaminski, a China scholar in Vienna, in 2007, she pointed him towards a treasure trove of thousands of photos of Beijing, many of which were a century old. 

Kaminski, director of the Austrian Institute for China and Southeast Asia Studies in Vienna, worked his way through the photos and published a selection along with other photos he was given by descendants of Austrian diplomats and traders in imperial China. 

“These photos give precious insights into daily urban life in Beijing a century ago,” he said. “Many of the buildings don’t exist anymore and traditions seen in the photos have been lost in time.”





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