Gelatin silver photograph, Street Cleaners of Peking.

Gelatin silver photograph, Street Cleaners of Peking.

Ca. 1930s. Beautiful large silver type photograph of street cleaners on a large avenue in Peking on thick photographic paper. Two street cleaners in uniform and caps turn toward the camera as a man pulls a rickshaw to the left. The young cleaners work with a large wooden bucket placed in the middle of the road; major buildings and a temple are visible in the background.

Possibly the work of Hedda Morrison, a German born photographer who left Germany in 1933 and took a position at a German-owned commercial photographic studio called Hartung's, in the old Legation Quarter of the city then called Peiping. Morrison took many photographs of the old city and its people, temples and markets, mostly using a Rolleiflex medium-format camera. Typed title label on verso reads, "Cleaning streets of Peking".

By the 1920s the street cleaning of Peking was done by a force of over 1,500 uniformed men organized by the health department of the Police Board. The cleaners used a large tub of water and a willow basket on the end of a pole to sprinkle the streets, in spite of the busy traffic. These street cleaners kept the roads not only cleaned and sprinkled, but repaired; when it snowed, they spread a layer of ashes in less than 24 hours. A charming slice of life photograph of Peking. 7 1/2 x 9 1/2" Very good condition. Item #18268

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