photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
These two photographs are the eighteenth 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:
The Pagoda of Cishou Temple, originally known as Yong’anwanshou Pagoda, is a 16th century stone and brick Chinese pagoda located in the Buddhist Cishou Temple of Balizhuang, a suburb of Beijing. This octagonal-shaped pagoda is roughly 50m’s tall, with elaborate ornamental carvings, thirteen tiers of eaves and a small steeple. The Cishousi Pagoda was built in 1576 during the Ming dynasty, commissioned by Empress Dowager Li during the Wanli reign. The Cishousi Pagoda was modelled upon a similar pagoda at Tianning Temple outside the Guang’an Gate in Beijing. The eaves styled from pagodas in Liao dynasty (907-1125) and Jin dynasty (1115-1234). The original Cishou Temple which used to surround the Cishousi Pagoda has been destroyed during the years, while this Ming pagoda remained unharmed except for noticeable weathering damage to the carved reliefs on its exterior facade.