Half-length Portrait of Zhan Tianyou


This photograph is a half-length portrait of Zhan Tianyou, also known as Jeme Tien Yow (1861–1919), in official uniform. Zhan was the chief engineer in charge of construction of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou railroad line. A native of Foshan, Guangdong, Zhan received his civil engineering degree in 1881 in the United States. For his contribution to railroad engineering in China, he was known as the "Father of China's Railroads." The photograph is from Jing-Zhang lu gong cuo ying (Photographs of the Jing-Zhang Railway construction), an album issued in 1909 to mark the opening of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway (formerly known as the Imperial Peking-Kalgan Railway), the first railroad in China designed, built, and financed by the Chinese, without foreign involvement. The photographs in the album were taken between 1905 and 1909 by the Tongsheng Photo Studio of Shanghai. The construction had three phases: the first line, from Fengtai to Nankou, was completed in September 1906. The second line, from Nankou to Kangzhuang, was completed in September 1908. The third part of the railroad, from Kangzhuang to Zhangjiakou, was finished in September 1909. The total length of the line, from Fengtai in Beijing to Zhangjiakou, was about 200 kilometers. The two-volume album depicts scenes along the railroad, including its main sections, railway stations, factory buildings, locomotives, bridges, and tunnels and culverts, as well as scenes of laborers at work during the construction and of the festivities celebrating the opening of the railway. Views and scenic spots at various stops along the line are clearly depicted, and provide a complete and systematic overview of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway at the time. Presented here is volume one.

Last updated: May 26, 2015