Late Imperial China
Children and Toys [Photographs]
These photographs come from The Hedda Morrison Photographs of China, 1933-1946 website, a collection of photographs that provide a perspective on childhood in a period that bridges the conclusion of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and the rise of a new 20th-century republic in China. Morrison, a native of Germany, spent time as a resident of Beijing where she built a rich collection of photographs of daily life during the 1930s and early 1940s. Among many topics, Morrison was particularly interested in street scenes and composed photos of shops, commerce, street-side entertainments, and the daily life of local residents. Included among these are a good number of images of children. These three images focus on the street-side sale of toys and on the children who admired and sometimes purchased the various objects. An exploration of these images raises intriguing issues regarding some of the material objects that made up a child's daily life (or part of a special occasion) as well as the social roles attached to their production, sale, and consumption. Indeed, it would seem – unlike the patterns of toy consumption enjoyed by children in a later day – that these roles overlapped greatly.
"Boy holding toy next to toy vendor's stand" (HM19.6368), "Child holding a pole with toy oxen at New Year's" (HM07.2872), "Two girls standing next to hawker's display of paper butterflies" (HM20.1657), The Hedda Morrison Photographs of China, 1933 – 1946, , Harvard College Library (accessed August 5, 2009).
How to Cite This Source
Sue Fernsebner, "Late Imperial China," in Children and Youth in History, Item #221, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/221 (accessed December 18, 2014).
- Primary Sources
- Meng Ch'iu, Empress Ma in coarse-woven silk… [Literary Excerpt]
- Meng Ch'iu, K'uang Heng bores a hole in the wall Sun Ching shuts his door [Literary Excerpt]
- Three-Character Classic [Literary Excerpt]
- The Story of the Stone [Literary Excerpt]
- Joyous Celebration at the New Year [Image]
- The Chinese Boy and Girl [Literary Excerpt]
- Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes [Literary Excerpts]
- "Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese Home" [Online Exhibit]
- Children and Toys [Photographs]
- Selling Toys [Photographs]