October 3rd, 2018

orphan

Not Shanghai

This photo was posted in the Chinese-language Wechat group for fans of old Shanghai. It depicts Jiading in the 1880s:


Here we have a creek, a bridge and another bridge faintly visible in the distance (that one is flat and possibly retractable). There is a walled establishment on the left – not the city wall – and on the right there is an arch that seems to spell 节孝, meaning this is a chastity arch dedicated to a virtuous widow. Judging by the light and the orientation of the arch and buildings in front and behind it, the camera is pointing north (which is almost always the case with early photography anyway). A citizen has stopped at the foot of the bridge to check his phone for directions.