Sunday, February 8, 2009

Life Magazine Image Archive: Sichuan and Chongqing

Bombing Of Chungking
Smoke & debris rising from the city, a result of savage air bombing by the Japanese.
Location: Chungking, China
Date taken: July 1941
Photographer: Carl Mydans

China-Japan War
A portion of Chungking where people are rebuiliding afer Japanese air raids destroyed the area.
Location: Chungking, China
Date taken: February 1941
Photographer: Carl Mydans

Old farmers relaxing at teahouse after market day.
Location: Szechuan, China
Date taken: 1944
Photographer: Carl Mydans

A view of a typical Szechuan farm.
Location: Paoki, China
Date taken: 1941
Photographer: Carl Mydans

Lolo Tribesmen from Szechuan Border Region appear in native dress at First meeting of National Assembly.
Location: China
Date taken: April 1948
Photographer: Jack Birns

Volunteer fire brigade in market village in central Szechuan province.
Location: Lung Chuan-I, China
Date taken: 1941
Photographer: Carl Mydans

The above images are just a small selection from the enormous Life Magazine image archive hosted on Google. All are taken before 1949. The Sichuan material is, of course, heavy on Chongqing as it was the provisional capital of the Nationalist Government during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The pictures from Chongqing before, after and during numerous bombings are particularly horrific but also very enlightening if you have witnessed firsthand what Chongqing looks like today. Unfortunately other Sichuan postings are a little scarce, but some of the ones you'll find are still quintessential Sichuan scenes: relaxing at a teahouse, countryside villages etc. Image captions use the old Wade-Giles spelling (Chungking and not Chongqing) and some derogatory terms like "Lolo" as seen above. China as a whole is represented by only 200 images, but there are other keywords that bring up more images: Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, Sinkiang, Manchuria, Yangtse River, Burma Road etc etc. Keyword creativity is a must! Link to archive here. Footnote: Oh, China! What has happened to you?

# 12 Today's picture 090208

Shadow of Oriental Pearl TV Tower on Huangpu River, Shanghai © Ingrid Booz Morejohn