Rare Glimpses of China at Bonhams Book Sale


Los Angeles—Bonhams sale of Fine Books and Manuscripts on February 10 will include a selection of photographs of Beijing and old China by John David Zumbrun, an American-born photographer who owned one of two photographic studios in Beijing from 1910-1929. Zumbrun was witness to a number of the important events of the time such as the fall of the Qing Dynasty in the 1911 Revolution and the Student Revolution of 1919 as well an observer of life in the city and in the surrounding countryside. One of the highlights of the collection is a nearly six-foot long panorama of Beijing (est. $20,000-$30,000), capturing the great political center at a time long before the major expansions of the post-war period.

Unlike some of the more well-known photographers who photographed China in the 19th century, Zumbrun worked locally and most of his work was not as widely dispersed or known outside of the Beijing set. Zumbrun was also given unprecedented access for a Westerner, and his photographs include images of the Imperial Court and the last Emperor Puyi, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, General Yuan Shikai, warlords, ambassadors, officers, shopkeepers, craftsmen, farmers, peasants and refugees. 

These photographs are available for public viewing in San Francisco on January 31, 10 am to 5 pm. 

Further information can be found at www.bonhams.com/auctions/21612lots 77-98.

Image courtesy of Bonhams.

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