China: A Manchu Bride
This photograph by the great Scottish traveler, geographer, and photographer John Thomson (1837-1921) shows a young woman of the Manchu ethnic group in her wedding dress. She is dressed in a richly embroidered costume and a large floral headdress with tassels. Her face is powdered white. As an ethnographer, Thomson took many photographs of brides in lavish costumes, but he also expressed a gloomy view of the brides’ future lives, which he compared to slavery. "No Manchu maiden can be betrothed until she is fourteen years of age. Usually some ...