A photograph of a sacred site in the mountains above the River Min, China, taken by John Thomson [1837-1921] in about 1871, published in 1873 in the book 'Foochow and the River Min'. This stone altar has an impressive view. The River Min, the largest river in Fujian province, winds through spectacular mountainous terrain, with tree-lined valleys and gorges. Thomson travelled extensively in Fujian province, formerly Fukien, south east China, from late 1870 to early 1871. The book, 'Foochow and the River Min', records his journey up the River Min by boat from Fuzhou to Nanping, a distance of about 160 miles. Thomson was one of the most significant travel photographer-explorers of the nineteenth century. Born in Scotland, he studied chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, before taking up photography in the 1860s. Thomson travelled extensively throughout Asia, documenting the antiquities, landscapes and people of Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Macao and China. In the early 1870s he returned to England where he worked with the journalist Adolphe Smith on a project documenting the life of the urban poor. The resulting book, 'Street Life in London' was published in twelve parts between 1877 and 1878.
The Altar of Heaven', c 1871