Black and white photograph showing a street corner following a snowfall. The image has been taken from above and looks down over a street corner. A camel train crosses the street in the foreground (the camels are transporting coal) and pedestrians travel the road in both directions, pushing carts and pulling rickshaws. There are two trees and a portion of a third tree covered in snow in the foreground and snow covers the footpath and electricity poles. Tram tracks traverse the street and the scene is criss-crossed from above by tram and electricity wires. Buildings with roofs covered in snow and the Zhengyang Bridge Memorial Archway ('pailou') can be seen in the distance.
In 'A photographer in Old Peking' (p. 104), Hedda Morrison wrote that this image depicted the 'northern end of Ch'ien Men Street after snow had fallen and quickly begun to melt'. She took this photograph from Zhengyang men Gate Watchtower , in the south wall of the Tartar City or Inner City. Decorative wooden memorial archways (pailou), similar to the one at the rear of the image, were generally granted to loyal statesmen, virtuous widows and other exceptional people, although many of those in Peking were said to have been merely decorative. They once marked the main thoroughfares in Peking, but most were pulled down in the 1950s as it was felt they obstructed traffic. Zhengyang Bridge Memorial Archway ('pailou'), also known as the Qianmen five-arch memorial archway, which spanned five roads, was the only wooden five-arch memorial archway in Peking. Demolished in 1953, it was reconstructed in 2001.
This is one of a large number of photographs that were taken by Hedda Morrison (1908-1991) during her years of residence in Peking (Beijing), China 1933-1946.
Exhibited in 'An Asian experience: 1933-67', organised by the Asian Studies Association of Australia, Fisher Library Foyer, University of Sydney, 12-30 May 1986. Reproduced in Hedda Morrison, 'A photographer in Old Peking', Hong Kong, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 104, with the caption: 'The northern end of Ch'ien Men Street after snow had fallen and quickly begun to melt'.
Gift of Mr Alastair Morrison, 1992