'Part of Lower Bridge', c 1871.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of a bridge across the River Min in Fuzhou, China, taken by John Thomson, published in 1873 in 'Foochow and the River Min'. Crowds are gathered on this bridge to watch Thomson take the photograph. The city of Fuzhou, also known as Ku-shan or Foochow, dates back to the Chinese T'ang dynasty (618-906). After the Opium War of 1839-1842 China was forced to accept Fuzhou as a treaty port. A European settlement and trading centre was established on Nantai island, joined to the main city by a bridge. By the 1850s it was the main port in China and also the world's largest tea-exporting centre. Thomson travelled extensively in Fujian province, formerly Fukien, south east China, from late 1870 to early 1871, and was one of the most significant travel photographer-explorers of the 19th century.