Personal photograph album recording his work as a medical missionary in China, the establishment of the Mukden Medical College.1882-1911 Stock Code: 133161
NotesExceptional narrative album relating the career of Dugald Christie (1855-1936), Scots medical missionary and founder of the Mukden Medical College, "the first western medical school in Manchuria" (Crawford, p. 73), including a dozen impressive finely-detailed, full-plate images of sights in Mukden (modern Shenyang) and over 200 personal photographs that capture Christie, his family and fellow missionaries, the whole offering a panorama of events in the region, taking in the Russo-Japanese War and the Great Manchurian Plague of 1910-11, in the combating of which Christie played a prominent role.
Christie came from a humble background in the principally Gaelic-speaking Scottish highlands and led a peripatetic childhood. Following the death of his father in the early 1860s, the family fortunes declined further and "Dugald joinied elder siblings in Glasgow, where he served an apprenticeship and entered a drapery business. Attendance at the Moody and Sankey Glasgow mission in 1874 led to profound religious change. A hitherto unenthusiastic adherent of the Free Gaelic congregation, he identified with mainstream evangelical life and was active in open-air and slum missions. Desire to be a medical missionary led him to study for university entrance. He entered the Edinburgh medical school in 1877 and qualified LRCP and LRCS in 1881, when he was appointed superintendent of the Cowgate Dispensary and Medical Mission by the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society, which had assisted his studies. In July 1882 Dugald Christie was accepted as a medical missionary for Manchuria by the United Presbyterian church (his own church, the Free Church of Scotland, having no commitment to medical missions) and that autumn set up a dispensary in the treaty port of Newchwang (Yingkou). In May 1883 he began work in the Manchurian capital, Mukden (Shenyang), with the experienced John Ross. Initial hostility to foreigners gradually abated, not least because of their assistance in a cholera epidemic and successful operations for government officials and soldiers. The first temporary hospital was set up in 1885, and a permanent building was acquired in 1887. This was rebuilt with an operating theatre and a separate hospital for women constituted in 1892. The service rendered by the hospital in the disastrous floods of 1888, and in the famine and fever that followed, gave it local prestige, but the Sino-Japanese War over Korea in 18945 forced its closure. Christie worked in Newchwang, with other expatriate doctors, for the Red Cross. He also reported on the war for The Times and wrote for medical journals on the wounds caused by the new bullets used by the Japanese. In the Boxer uprising the hospital, with other 'foreign' buildings, was burned down, in 1900. Christie escaped and then went to Japan. After briefly revisiting Mukden he withdrew to Scotland to restore his health and the hospital's resources. He returned to meet the Russo-Japanese War of 19045 and the Japanese occupation. He became a supervisor of refugee relief for the local government and treated Chinese, Russian, and Japanese casualties for the Red Cross. The hospital was reopened, and on a grander scale, with substantial Chinese support, in 1907. When pneumonic plague broke out in 191011 the government put Christie in charge of plague prevention and control measures. The epidemic killed his new assistant, Arthur Jackson" (ODNB). Jackson is pictured in the album in two sensitive portraits, one of which is reproduced in Christie's autobiography Thirty Years in Moukden, alongside several other images found in our album: "A slow, placid stream, almost a lake" (p. 8), "Fishing on the small river" (p. 46), "Refugees from villages ruined by war" (p. 186), a superb full-plate portrait of Hsu Shih Chang (Xu Shichang), president of the Republic of China 1918-1922 (p. 226), "A ward in the Moukden hospital" (p. 230), "Ready for plague work" (p. 260), "Dr Wang" (p. 282). In his address to the Centenary Missionary Conference in Shanghai in 1907 Christie "argued for the highest professional standards (higher than some thought necessary in the West); due regard to local context, with deep respect for language and custom; the concomitance of medical, evangelistic, and pastoral work; the development of a skilled indigenous medical staff; and free treatment (healing should be as free as preaching)" (Anderson, p. 134).
The album opens with a fine view of the Phoenix Tower, Mukden Imperial Palace, and two portraits of Christie, one dated 1882 and another showing him with Chinese assistants. As mentioned above, the original mission buildings were destroyed during the Boxer uprising and this is captured in a memorable sepia-toned print showing the destruction wrought. This is followed by the customary assemblage of Chinese "types" (barber, shoemaker, beggar, labourer, actors) and by candid scenes of Christie and his family, both in Edinburgh and at Pei-tai-ho (modern Beidaihe District, Qinhuangdao, Hebei province). There is then a sudden shift to scenes during the Russo-Japanese War and a vibrant sense of reportage: Russian troops occupying the grounds of the Imperial Palace at Mukden, Russian officers, "Chinese refugees from burnt villages"; one candid image shows Viscount Kawakami Soruku, one of the chief strategists of the Imperial Japanese Army, wearing a straw boater, captured in the grounds of the Medical College. Fine views of the Qing imperial tombs at Mukden (now a World Heritage Site) come next and a splendid group photograph taken at the opening of the Mukden Hospital in 1907. Scenes in Kaiyuan, Liaoning province, give way to four images of a "railway smash" on the Manchurian railway; some 19 photographs cover the Manchurian Plague of 1910-11, including affecting snapshots of families afflicted by the epidemic, a quarantine hospital, "plague ambulance", medics equipped to handle the outbreak, and two images of the Plague Conference held at Mukden in 1911, with Christie in attendance. One image, captioned "Wounded Chinese refugees Moukden Hospital", is held in a coloured version by USC as part of their International Mission Photography Archive (IMPA) and is referred to as one of a series of "Church of Scotland Foreign Missions Committee lantern slides". Another at USC, also present here, is entitled "Presentation of Robes & Umbrella to Dr and Mrs Dugald Christie, Manchuria, 1897"; another is captioned "Equipped to fight the plague" and appears at USC as "Plague workers, Mukden, Manchuria". Examples are also held at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity (CSWC), University of Edinburgh.
The camera was an important adjunct to missionary work at this period, "both Protestant and Catholic missionaries had produced photographs in China since the late 19th century, when mass-produced equipment and technological developments such as the dry plate, flexible rollfilm, and folding cameras made vernacular imaging more widely available. As ordinary people around the world enjoyed the benefits of such photographic technology, so too did foreign missionaries These images were for the most part created with varying degrees of technical expertise, often under less-than-ideal physical environments. Yet, the historical trajectories and representations they embody belie their modest visual surfaces as vernacular images. The photographs produced by missionaries had multiple meanings and existences; prints were inserted into family albums, shared with other people as mementoes, or reproduced in Church publications Images made visible and material indexical forms of 'reality,' enabling viewers to imagine multiple meanings within and surrounding the image. For example, a photograph of a missionary family in the field might represent implications of distance (the image having travelled to viewers), relationships (to the environment and indigenous peoples), and religious and cultural belonging (as members of a global Christian community )" (Clark, pp. 54-6).
A highly appealing album, the content of which places the intimate amidst the almost overwhelmingly disastrous events of the early 20th-century, reflecting Christie's personal view of his own particular mission, "hostility and persecutions, our houses and all our worldly goods burned, wars and deadly plague, tragic death among our ranks, partings with children sent away to the homeland We look back on almost incredible changes, and all who have shared in them feel that it has been a great thing to take part in the Awakening of a Nation, the Regeneration of a great People" (Christie, p. 2).
Landscape quarto (223 x 295 mm). Contemporary dark red quarter grained skiver album, sand buckram over bevelled boards. 238 original photographs (silver gelatin and sepia-toned albumen prints), various formats from half-plates to trimmed -down miniatures, mounted on 32 dark grey heavy card stock leaves.
Binding professionally refurbished, leaves and photographs in good condition, black linen hinges renewed. In excellent condition.
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