Chinese Village, Pokfulum. (Hongkong). WILLIAM PRYOR FLOYD, ATTRIBUTED TO.
Chinese Village, Pokfulum. (Hongkong).

Chinese Village, Pokfulum. (Hongkong).

(circa1868). Stock ID #150504

Original albumen photograph measures 19 x 26.9cm. Laid on thick paper, matted. Matt measures 38.1 x 46cm. "Floyd, William Pryor (1834 - c. 1900). Important and highly talented British photographer whose Hong Kong studio was, for a time, one of the most successful commercial operations of its kind in the Far East. Worked in Shanghai (1864) and Macau (Aomen) (1865 - 1866 or 1867) before settling in Hong Kong (1867 - 1874)" (History of Photography in China: 1861-1879. Western Photographers Terry Bennett. 2010)

This original albumen print, entitled “Chinese Village, Pokfulam (Hongkong)” was purchased in Hong Kong about 25 years ago. It was attributed to William Pryor Floyd by the dealer who sold it at that time and this seems likely. We could find only one institution who holds a copy of this image.

Of superior quality and in fine condition, it has historical as well as photographic interest, because one hundred and fifty years later, despite so much change all over Hong Kong as well as in its immediate area, this small settlement continues to exist to this day. The old houses shown in the photograph still stand, though for long engulfed by wooden huts and other, initially temporary, residential structures built for the most part by persons fleeing the Chinese mainland during the Japanese invasion and civil war between 1937-49. Despite the ever-present threat of clearance for development which hangs over all such squatter settlements, Pokfulam village has somehow survived, and there is now more interest in its preservation.

A lively Pokfulam Village Cultural Landscape Group has existed for some years and has a firmly established presence on the Internet. Its website provides information on the village as it presently exists, and its own 'intangible cultural heritage" activities, including festivals. The historical section also provides some follow-up information about the old houses shown on this 1868 photograph - which features on its home page - as follows:

"Interpretation from Historic Photo: From one historical picture named as “Chinese Village at Pok Fu Lam” taken in 1868, you can see 2 rows [?] of single storey houses with pitched tile roofs in the forest. According to the [number] of doors, it is believed that there were 17 families...."

Pokfulam Village was also the subject of a paper written by Dr James Hayes and published in 1972 in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society HK Branch - "There is nothing attractive about the present village, which mostly consists of small single-storey stone or wooden structures erected in haphazard fashion round the single row of old village houses that constituted the original village. The village is listed in the Chinese district gazetteer of San On (1819 edition) and thus pre-dates the British occupation of Hong Kong in 1841. The Chan (陳) clan of Pokfulam, which probably settled the area in the 18th century, is still there today. They are Puntis, from Po On district. The Chans owned most of the agricultural land in the area, and fished by line and stakenet from suitable points on the coast." (When referring to this item please quote stockid 150504).

Price: $2,500.00 AU

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