Exhibition: China - Through the Lens of John Thomson (1868–1872)


  • The George Washington University Museum 701 21st Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20052 United States

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Scottish photographer and travel writer John Thomson took four journeys across China. His photographs capture scenes and people from all walks of life—ministers, high officials, wealthy traders, street vendors, brides, boat women, monks, and soldiers—providing a lasting record of nineteenth-century China’s landscapes, architecture, communities, and customs. This exhibition, organized by the George Washington University and The Textile Museum, presents a stunning selection of Thomson’s photographs displayed alongside contemporaneous pieces from The Textile Museum’s collection of Qing-Dynasty textiles and accessories. The colorful textiles will help bring Thomson's powerful black-and-white images to life. 

This exhibition and related programming are made possible through major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Coby Foundation, and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Additional support is provided by the George Washington University Confucius Institute and the Council for International Cooperation, Washington D.C.