Exquisitely hand-colored portraits offer a glimpse of 1870s China

Born to an aristocratic Austrian family in 1839, Baron Raimund von Stillfried spent his youth adventuring around the world before opening a photo studio in Yokohama, Japan.

There, he specialized in producing hand-colored souvenir photos of traditional Japanese "types" for wealthy Western tourists to bring home. His costumed portraits became highly influential in crafting European perceptions of Japan.

In the mid-1870s, he traveled to Shanghai and applied the same aesthetic conventions to traditional Chinese "types," posing beggars, workers and high society people in carefully staged portraits.

30 PHOTOS
Hand-colored portraits from 1875 China
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Hand-colored portraits from 1875 China

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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