August 26th, 2019

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Shanghai city wall and its impostors

This photograph of a British cannon on top of Shanghai's city wall gives a good idea of what the wall looked like. Note single embrasures on each crenellation:

Image: HPC.

This is by far not the only photograph showing the city wall, but one of the sharpest. There is a large number of authentic photographs of Shanghai city wall and gates in it.

New North Gate, or Porte de Montauban 障川门, at today's South Sichuan Road, opened in 1861:


(Old) West Gate 老西门, photographed by W. Saunders:


Little North Gate 拱辰门 near Dajing Pavilion 大境阁, opened in 1907:


Little East Gate 宝带门, opened in 1553 (and obviously recently renewed at the time of the photograph, c. 1910). Note the decorative brickwork around the arch:


Soldiers' cemetery adjacent to a bulwark, at the northwestern edge of the walled city; the wall's top is quite eroded:


Even the drawings and engravings capture the design correctly:

Image: Wattis Fine Art gallery.

And then there are archival photographs mistakenly identified as the walled city of Shanghai.

Double embrasures; single band of brickwork around the arch:


Very large embrasures; pointed curve of the arch:


Embrasures on every third crenellation; very wide arch: