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Prat (G.) Photograph Album of China and Japan
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The album, compiled by G. Prat, a French silk inspector working in China in the latter part of the nineteenth century, contains 151 albumen photographs of China and Japan. The album's visual focus is on the ports and trading centers of China's Pearl River Delta. Present are 98 views of Guangzhou (Canton); six of Hong Kong; and 11 of Macau. Additionally, there are 16 images on eight pages depicting the Canton Amateur Theatrical Society's (CATS) productions, and 20 photographs of Japan, 19 of which are hand colored. Photographers include Lai Fong and Kusakabe Kinbē. Extensive commentary written on the mount borders forms Prat's compendium on China in which he addresses any number of topics from history, geography, climate, agriculture, religion, language and dialects, and business practices to family life, sedan chairs, etiquette, costume and dress, and opium, to a lexicon of colonial Asian terms. The album is accompanied by 21 loose albumen prints and a manuscript listing photographs to be acquired.
The Frenchman, G. Prat, lived in Asia during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, working or traveling in the region from at least 1874 to 1896. From 1877 to 1884, he was based in Guangzhou where he was employed as a silk inspector by the American trading company Russell & Co. for a year and a half, and by the English firm Thomas, Rowe, & Smith for five and a half years. He was active in the European community on Shamian Island and numbered among his friends the "junior men" who were variously employed as accountants, tea tasters, silk inspectors, and the like at the European trading houses established in the port city.
1.5 Linear Feet (1 album containing 151 photographs; 21 loose photographic prints)
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