Guardians of Buddha, China, 1864-1872.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from 'Foochow and the River Min', an album of photographs taken by John Thomson (1837-1921) and published in 1873. It shows two seated guardians of Buddha, one holding a serpent the other a closed unmbrella. Forty-six copies of the album were produced for subscribers, many of whom were probably British merchants and tea planters that Thomson met during his extensive travels in China between 1864 and 1872. Thomson's outstanding photography of the scenes and people of China and the Far East earned him recognition as the first of the great photojournalists.