Black and white photograph showing the head and torso of a young girl, her head turned to her right (to the left of frame). She is dressed in a knitted jumper and striped skirt. Decorations made from chenille are pinned to her jumper and ornament her hair. She is framed by a masonry archway in the background.
This young girl is on her way back from the Miao feng shan temple fair. The Linggan Temple at Miao feng shan is also known as the Goddess Temple (Niangniang miao). It was and still is the largest Goddess temple in Beijing and since 1680 has attracted many worshippers. In 'A photographer in Old Peking' (p. 211), Hedda Morrison wrote that Miao feng shan was the most sacred of the Buddhist temples in the Western Hills: 'It was dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. There was a great spring pilgrimage here during the first half of the fourth moon which was of special significance to women. The pilgrimage was well organised, various benevolent societies providing shelter and refreshments along the way, a long, stony, five hour walk. Donkeys and sedan chairs were available for those who could not manage the walk. It was a particularly happy and joyous occasion'.
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.
Reproduced in Hedda Morrison, 'A photographer in Old Peking. Hong Kong', Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 220, with the caption: 'Young girl pilgrim on Miao Feng Shan. The pilgrimage was not only a devout but also a very gay occasion in which whole families took part'.
Gift of Mr Alastair Morrison, 1992
Verso, handwritten pencil, 'Peking girl at the/ Annual Pilgrimage to/the Miau Feng Shan/Western Hills/Foto H M Morrison'