Black and white photograph showing a close-up of a rickshaw puller's face as he sleeps. The puller is resting his head against his rickshaw as he has a nap in the sun. The wheel of his rickshaw can be seen at the left of the image.
Men who pulled rickshaws worked hard and for very little money. Rickshaws were once the most popular and most efficient form of transport in Peking. In 'A photographer in Old Peking' (p. 89), Hedda Morrison wrote: 'Rickshaws were everywhere, powered by men who aged rapidly with the hard work, especially during the bitter winter months. A cry of 'Yang-ch e' (foreign cart) would generally bring several rickshaws running to bargain with the potential passenger. This harsh side of life in Peking between the two world wars has been vividly portrayed in Lao She's famous novel, 'Rickshaw'. Human labour was also in general use to power other kinds of short distance transport. As the years passed many of the old-fashioned two-wheeled rickshaws were replaced by more efficient and less stable three-wheeled bicycle rickshaws'.
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. 106, with the caption: 'Sleeping rickshaw man'.
Gift of Mr Alastair Morrison, 1992