Island Pagoda, Min River, Fujian
22 cm x 29 cm
The stunning photograph is from John Thomson’s magnum opus Foochow and the River Min (1873), which introduced the beauty of inland China to an international audience. Only seven complete sets of the photographic publication are known to have survived. Jinshan Temple Fuzhou (known as Lo-Sing at the time of this photograph) is on the picturesque Min River.
The temple, which dates to the Song Dynasty, is near the village of Hongtang in Fuzhou, in southeast China’s Fujian province. Although it was built on a small island in the Min River, it is commonly referred to as a floating pagoda. The building has long served as a navigational landmark for travelers and traders. The bridge connecting the temple to the mainland was destroyed in 1615. Since then, a visit to the temple has required a ferry. Notable scholars and intellectuals long traveled to the secluded temple to study or prepare for the Imperial Examination.