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65 Captivating Rare Images of Old China through the Lens of Maurice-Louis Branger

The work of Maurice-Louis Branger in China

Maurice-Louis Branger, a distinguished French photographer, was born in the town of Fontainebleau in 1874. Embarking on his career in photography in 1895, Branger quickly established himself as a prominent figure in the field. It was approximately in 1905 when he founded Photopresse.

Branger’s photographic journey led him to various locations across China, capturing the essence of life and landscapes between 1900 and 1914. His work includes a remarkable collection of images from major cities and regions such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Macau, and Changsha, among others. These photographs not only offer a glimpse into the architectural and cultural milieu of early 20th-century China but also serve as a historical archive documenting the era’s socio-political climate.

Related articles: Fascinating images of the Chinese Revolution of 1911; Amazing restored old photos of China

War 1914-1918 - Observateur japonais. | MAURICE-LOUIS BRANGER (1874-1950)
Japanese observer. Tsingtao (China), 1914.

During this period, China was experiencing significant turmoil, most notably the Boxer Uprising. This was an armed insurrection that erupted between 1899 and 1901, marking a crucial point towards the end of the Qing dynasty. Characterized by its xenophobic, anti-Christian, and anti-imperialist sentiments, the uprising was a direct response to foreign influence and intervention in China. The rebellion was spearheaded by the “Boxers,” a group who sought to expel foreign elements from Chinese society, leading to a violent clash with both foreign and Christian populations within the country.

Branger’s work during this tumultuous period provides a unique visual documentation of China’s historical landscape, capturing the complexity of its cultural, social, and political fabric at the dawn of the 20th century.

Old China photos of the Boxer Rebellion, Xinhai uprising, foreign concessions and daily life by Maurice-Louis Branger

The British concession in Beijing
The English legation. Beijing (China), 1911.
Japanese observer
Japanese observer. Tsingtao (China), 1914.
Yuan Shikai (1859-1916), Chinese general, politician and "Emperor" (first row, third from the right).
Yuan Shikai (1859-1916), Chinese general, politician and “Emperor” (first row, third from the right).

Yuan Shikai (袁世凱; 16 September 1859 – 6 June 1916) was a prominent Chinese general and warlord known for his significant impact in the waning years of the Qing dynasty. He played a crucial role in the sequence of events that led to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor. Yuan is also notable for his tenure as the first official President of the Republic of China, where he exercised autocratic control. Additionally, his fleeting endeavor to reestablish the monarchy in China, crowning himself as the Hongxian Emperor, marks a notable episode in Chinese history.

Related articles: the first Sino-Japanese war

Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs. Beijing (China), 1911.
Xinhai Revolution Tuan-Fang, Viceroy of Nankin
Xinhai Revolution (or Revolution of 1911). Tuan-Fang, Viceroy of Nankin.

The Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命), also referred to as the Chinese Revolution or the Revolution of 1911, marked a crucial moment in Chinese history by ending the Qing dynasty, China’s last imperial dynasty, and founding the Republic of China (ROC). This significant upheaval is denoted as the Xinhai Revolution because it unfolded in 1911, a year designated as Xinhai (辛亥, metal pig) in the Chinese sexagenary cycle, which combines the 12 earthly branches with the 10 heavenly stems.

Xinhai-Revolution
Xinhai Revolution (or Revolution of 1911). Western people on the ramparts of Hankou, at the outbreak of the revolution. China, 1911.
Wan-Ring-Chung
Xinhai Revolution (or Revolution of 1911). Wan-Ring-Chung, vice-director of the Foreign Affairs.
Panorama of Macau
Panorama of Macau (China), 1911.
Panorama of Macau (China), 1911.
Panorama of Macau (China), 1911.
Canal in Guangzhou (Canton, China), 1911.
Canal in Guangzhou (Canton, China), 1911.
Chinese junk sailing on the Yangtze river
Chinese junk sailing on the Yangtze river. China, 1911.
Pagoda. Changsha (China).
Pagoda. Changsha (China).
The Flower Pagoda (Temple of the Six Banyan Trees). Guangzhou (China)
The Flower Pagoda (Temple of the Six Banyan Trees). Guangzhou (China).
Imperial throne in the Hall of Supreme Harmony
Imperial throne in the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Forbidden City (China).
A procession in Beijing (China)
A procession in Beijing (China), 1911.
Great Wall of China near Beijing
Great Wall of China near Beijing (China), 1911.
Caravan of camels. China, 1911.
Caravan of camels. China, 1911.
Man in a cangue, form of torture. China, 1911.
Man in a cangue, form of torture. China, 1911.
Chinese men, 1911.
Chinese men, 1911.
Men. China, 1911.
Men. China, 1911.
Street of a village. China, 1911.
Street of a village. China, 1911.
Village in the mountains. China, 1911.
Village in the mountains. China, 1911.
Xinhai Revolution (or Revolution of 1911). Chinese refugees at the German fort of Beijing (China).
Xinhai Revolution (or Revolution of 1911). Chinese refugees at the German fort of Beijing (China).
Gate of the Legation Quarter. Beijing (China), 1911.
Gate of the Legation Quarter. Beijing (China), 1911.
Xinhai Revolution (or Revolution of 1911). General Sen-Kun-Pao.
Xinhai Revolution (or Revolution of 1911). General Sen-Kun-Pao.
Italian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
Italian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
Chinese children with a European nun. Beijing (China), 1911.
Chinese children with a European nun. Beijing (China), 1911.
Chinese man. China, 1911.
Chinese man. China, 1911.
District of a concession in a Chinese city. China, 1911.
District of a concession in a Chinese city. China, 1911.
Chinese men beheaded
China. The Boxer Rebellion, 1900. Chinese men beheaded by Japanese soldiers in the presence of Chinese policemen, August 1900.

The Boxer Rebellion was a violent anti-foreign, and anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dynasty. It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan, the “Boxers”), for many of their members had been practitioners of the martial arts, such as boxing. They were motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to Western colonialism and associated Christian missionary activity. [wikipedia]

Procession of a Chinese wedding. Beijing (China), 1911.
Procession of a Chinese wedding. Beijing (China), 1911.
Procession of a Chinese wedding. Beijing (China), 1911.
Procession of a Chinese wedding. Beijing (China), 1911.
Street scene. Beijing (China), 1911.
Street scene. Beijing (China), 1911.
Day nursery. Beijing (China), 1911.
Day nursery. Beijing (China), 1911.
Elephant on the Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs. Beijing (China), 1911.
Elephant on the Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs. Beijing (China), 1911.
European man posing in front of a gate at the entrance of a temple. Beijing (China), 1911.
European man posing in front of a gate at the entrance of a temple. Beijing (China), 1911.
Funeral. Shanghai (China), 1911.
Funeral. Shanghai (China), 1911.
Italian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
Italian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
Pavilion at the entrance of the Catholic cathedral. Beijing (China), 1911.
Pavilion at the entrance of the Catholic cathedral. Beijing (China), 1911.
Chinese men. China, 1911.
Chinese men. China, 1911.
Italian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
Italian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
Russian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
Russian sailors. Beijing (China), 1911.
The Yuntai Cloud Terrace (16th century), in the surroundings of Beijing (China), 1911.
The Yuntai Cloud Terrace (16th century), in the surroundings of Beijing (China), 1911.
The Legation district. Beijing (China), 1911.
The Legation district. Beijing (China), 1911.
End of a school day. Beijing (China), 1911.
End of a school day. Beijing (China), 1911.
Europeans. Beijing (China), 1911.
Europeans. Beijing (China), 1911.
Railway line. Beijing (China), 1907.
Railway line. Beijing (China), 1907.
Camels carrying some wood near Beijing (China), 1907.
Camels carrying some wood near Beijing (China), 1907.
Chinese man-old China, 1911.
Chinese man. China, 1911.
Old Chinese man-old China, 1911.
Old Chinese man. China, 1911.
Beijing China, 1911
Beijing China, 1911
old China 1900
China, 1900.
Chinese Coiffeur, Beijing, 1911
Chinese Coiffeur, Beijing, 1911
chinese-man--old-china-1911
Chinese man, China 1911
Harnessing. China, 1911.
Harnessing. China, 1911.
old china images
China 1911.
The Fengai train station. China, 1911.
The Fengai train station. China, 1911.
Harnessings. China, 1911.
Harnessings. China, 1911.
Sedan chair. China, 1911.
Sedan chair. China, 1911.
Village on the caravan road. China, 1911.
Village on the caravan road. China, 1911.
Construction of a road. China, 1911.
Construction of a road. China, 1911.
Wedding procession. Beijing (China), 1911.
Wedding procession. Beijing (China), 1911.
Beijing 1911
Beijing 1911

Source: Europeana , Parisienne de Photographie, [wikipedia], [wikipedia]

Topic: photos of ancient china,historical photographs of china,pictures of ancient chinese civilization,pictures of china,old chinese paintings,pictures of the great wall of china,qing dynasty photos, biography of Maurice-Louis Branger

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