Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Views from the Iltis in China
2003.R.2  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (131.23 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Views from the Iltis in China
    Date (inclusive): 1919
    Number: 2003.R.2
    Physical Description: 1.5 Linear Feet (154 photographs in 1 album)
    Repository:
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    reference@getty.edu
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: An album of 154 collodion and gelatin silver photographs compiled by an unidentified German sailor from photographs collected during his tour of duty aboard the German gunboat Iltis. The focus of the album is the German naval presence in China, documenting the Iltis and its crew in particular, but also including views of other German and foreign naval vessels. It also presents a picture of Chinese culture during the last days of the Qing dynasty, the revolution of 1911, and the birth of the Chinese Republic, and documents both domestic struggle and foreign intervention as well as scenes of daily life.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language: Collection material is in German with some English.

    Historical Note

    The SMS Iltis (Polecat) was one of several Iltis-class small and lightly armed gunboats that the Germans operated in Chinese waters in the early years of the twentieth century as part of Germany's East Asia Squadron. The Iltis was launched on August 4, 1898 at the Schichau shipyards in Danzig (Gdańsk) and put into service on December 1 of that year. She left Kiel on February 6, 1899 and never returned to Germany. Her first stop was Falmouth and thence to the Bay of Biscay where she towed the English steamer Port Darwin, to La Coruña, Portugal. She then sailed through the Mediterranean via Gibraltar to Port Said, through the Suez Canal, and on via Aden to Colombo (Ceylon), stopping at Penang, and the island of Pulau Langkawi in Malaysia and in Singapore, before reaching Tsingtau on May 18, 1899.
    Along with the Iltis, several other gunboats of its class - the Tiger, Jaguar, and Luchs, were all stationed in Tsingtao (Quingdao). During the 1914 siege of Tsingtao (27 August-7 November) in which the German-occupied port was attacked by unified Japanese and British forces, the Iltis, along with the cruiser, Cormoran, and the Luchs, another gunboat, became trapped in the harbor. On September 28 all three vessels were burned and scuttled, as were the Tiger, Jaguar, and Luchs.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Views from the Iltis in China, 1919, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2003.R.2.
    http://hdl.handle.net/10020/cifa2003r2

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Acquired in 2003.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed and cataloged by Beth Ann Guynn in 2003. She wrote the finding aid in 2021.

    Digitized Material

    The album was digitized by the repository and the images are available online:
    http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2003r2

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The album of 154 collodion and gelatin silver photographs was compiled by an unidentified German sailor from photographs collected during his tour of duty aboard the German gunboat Iltis. Its focus is the German naval presence in China, documenting the Iltis and its crew in particular, but also including views of other German and foreign naval vessels. One photograph depicts the crew of the Iltis gathered around a replica of the Prussian Pour le Mérite cross awarded the boat by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1903 for its role in the Taku Forts rebellion. Another photograph shows the Kaiser boarding the SMS Carmen. The daily life of the crew is depicted in scenes such as the mess line and sailors gathered around a Chinese vendor selling souvenirs aboard ship. Also included are two views of the Iltis Denkmal, the monument commemorating the crew of the first gunboat named Iltis Denkmal , which was hit by a typhoon off the Shandong coast in 1896.
    In addition to recording the German naval presence in China, the album also presents a picture of Chinese culture during the last days of the Qing dynasty, the revolution of 1911, and the birth of the Chinese Republic. It documents both domestic struggle and foreign intervention and includes views of burnt cities, battle scenes, and military encampments. Featured are aspects of war such as the transport of the wounded, burial of the dead, prisoners of war, and executions. Also included are views of cities and architectural landmarks, urban and rural life, and portraits of local inhabitants. Locations depicted include Hankow (Hankou), Tsingtao (Qingdao) and Kiaochow Bay (Jiaozhou Bay) Amoy (Xiamen), Shanghai, Nanking (Nanjing), and Foochow (Fuzhou).
    Sprinkled throughout the album are readily available touristic studio photographs corresponding to the ports of call that the Iltis stopped at en route to Tsingtao, including Gibraltar, Naples, Colombo (Ceylon), Port Said and the Suez Canal, and Singapore. One photograph of a crocodile "hunt" in Egypt is by Zangaki. A sailor reporting to the Iltis for duty at a later date, such as the compiler of the album perhaps, would have also stopped at these ports on his voyage to China.
    A smudged ink inscription on the upper binding of the back flyleaf recto may provide the name of the compiler of the album and the date: A. Steffenson 1919.
    Lacquered wood covers are glued over a leather album; the leather spine is exposed. Depicted on the front cover is a river scene in gold, red, and white with figures in an open boat poling past a paifang in the foreground; buildings and mountains are shown in the distance. Tree branches frame the scene which is enclosed by a silver fretwork border with a chrysanthemum topping each corner.
    Captions are written on the mounts in German. Unless otherwise noted these captions have been used for the titles of the individual photographs.

    Arrangement

    Arranged in a single series: Series I. Views from the Iltis, 1919.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    William, German Emperor, II, 1859-1941
    Steffenson, A.

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Germany. Kriegesmarine. Kreuzergeschwade

    Subjects - Topics

    Clothing and dress -- China
    Executions and executioners -- China
    Gunboats
    Sailors -- Germany
    Orden Pour le Mérite

    Subjects - Places

    China -- Description and travel
    China -- History -- Qing dynasty, 1644-1912
    China -- History -- Republic, 1912-1949
    China -- History -- Revolution, 1911-1912
    Fuzhou Fu (Fujian Sheng, China) -- Description and travel
    Hankou (Wuhan, China) -- Description and travel
    Jiaozhou Bay (China) -- Description and travel
    Nanjing (Jiangsu Sheng, China) -- Description and travel
    Qingdao (China) -- Description and travel
    Shanghai (China) -- Description and travel
    Xiamen (Xiamen Shi, China) -- Description and travel

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Collodion prints -- China -- 20th century
    Photographs, Original.
    Gelatin silver prints -- China -- 20th century
    Photograph albums -- China -- 20th century