Sedan chair – Photo of the day



Published by Paula Bray on June 18, 2010 in Photo of the day.





Powerhouse Museum – Sydney





    Sedan chair






John Thomson took this photograph of a sedan chair and its two bearers in Hong Kong around 1869. This is a collotype print from the original negative which was published in 1874. The cost of using a sedan chair service at this time ranged from 10 cents to two dollars a day. Initially Thompson felt guilty about being carried about on the shoulders of the bearers but after a few days in the “hot, trying climate” quickly adapted to their use.

Chair-stands were to be found outside all of the European hotels as well as at the wharves and most of the bearers slept, ate, and worked on the streets of Hong Kong for most of the year. Military officers were not permitted to use sedan chairs and if they could not walk they were at liberty to use horses.


Photography by John Thomson
No known copyright restrictions
Post by Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator


    © Copyright Powerhouse Museum


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~ by Stampfli & Turci on July 2, 2010.

One Response to “Sedan chair – Photo of the day”

  1. I felt the same in India with the rickshaws. It’s bad enough in most towns having some poor, starving man pulling my weight around while he cycled but in Calcutta they don’t even have bikes and they pull these big metal rickshaws around by hand.
    It seems obscene to me that anyone would pay to abuse another human like that but if you don’t go by rickshaw the poor old guy and his family don’t eat. What a predicament.

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