Hand-colored albumen print
22 cm x 29 cm
William Saunders was one of the most important and innovative photographers of nineteenth-century China. He was the first artist known to hand-tint photographs in the Far East. Saunders’s experience with with Chinese art and culture heavily influenced his photography. New hybrid modes of photographic art in Saunders’s work echoed the artistic, cultural, and commercial exchanges taking place in Shanghai and throughout China.
In this hand-tinted photograph Saunders presents a woman weaving on a simple loom. The weaver, viewed in profile, appears engaged with the loom rather than with the photographer. China was one of the world’s most important sources of rich and finely brocaded silks. This photograph demonstrates an ancient means of production of the traditional luxury Chinese textiles sought throughout the world for centuries.