[Beijing]. Acccordion. 10 pp. Sextodecimo. [15.5 cm]. Ten black and white photograph reproductions. Patterned red cloth over boards with paper title label affixed to front board. Accordion bound album containing ten black and white half tone reproduction photographs of images associated with the Qing dynasty in the late 19th century, largely portaits. Both boards are severely cocked. Final reproduction photograph at rear paste down has sustained some mild water damage and has some slight, barely visible cracking. Mild soiling to edges, which are rubbed, most noticeably at corners. Very good +. Item #64542
A curious souvenir item likely published in the late 1900s, masquerading intentionally as a genuine antique Victorian photo album to lure the eye of an naive tourist. Pictured are members of the Qing dynasty and the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. Identified are two women whose entanglement has inspired much lore and controversy: Empress Dowager Cixi and Consort Xhen, also known as the Pearl Concubine, consort to the Guangxu Emperor. Though her birth name was either never recorded or censored from Qing historical documents, Consort Xhen exacted staggering political control through her charm of the Emperor, triggering radical political reform. Her political power was unveiled during a scandal of leaked documents. It is believed that Empress Cixi, after many years of resentment and humiliation (largely due to Consort Xhen's political and personal sway within the empire) ordered her to be drowned in a well. Popular conception holds that beloved Consort Xhen died at the age of 24 at the outer bounds of the Forbidden Palace, but the truth behind her death remains unknown.