A new photo from the Powerhouse Museum every day
Photography by Serge Vargassoff
No known copyright restrictions
Photography by by Xiaoyang Yu
© All rights reserved
These two photographs are the seventh in our ‘then and now’ series that we are sharing on Photo of the Day that have been researched by Nina Wang, an intern from the University of Sydney who has been working with our Registration team cataloguing the lantern slides of Serge Vargassoff taken in China from 1910s to 1940s. Serge Vargassoff (1906-1965) is a Russian-born photographer who established himself as a professional photographer, at the age of 20 in Beijing and became a long-term resident of the city. A set of 89 lantern slides in a Chinese style wooden box was donated to the Museum by Vera Vargassoff, a niece of Serge Vargassoff in 2010.
Nina has written the following:
This slide shows a winter scene of the Summer Palace from the eastern shore of the Kunming Lake. The Summer Palace lies 20 kilometers northwest of the center of Beijing. Previously called the Garden of Clear Ripples, the Summer Palace is the largest Imperial garden in existence in China. The whole complex covers an area of over 290 hectares including more than 3,000 buildings, such as halls, pavilions, towers and so on.
Originally built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (Qing dynasty) and burned down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860, Foxiang Ge was rebuilt in its original style during Emperor Guangxu’s reign (1875-1908, Qing dynasty). The octahedral tower has three stories with four-layered eaves, altogether 36.44 meters high. Standing upright on a 20 meter-high stone foundation, it constitutes the centre of the Summer Palace landscape. A statue of the thousand-handed Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, cast in bronze and gilded with gold, stands inside the tower. The statue, five meters high and five tons in weight, was cast during the reign of Emperor Wanli of Ming dynasty.