Plate 3
Graphic Scenes of the Japan Expedition
Lithographs by William Heine - 1856

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Plate 3, The Pagoda of Wampoa

Click here for full picture with margins

Characteristics of the Lithograph.

Lithograph Type: Handcolored lithograph
Page Size: 14 1/2 x 19 3/4 in -- 26.5 x 50.2 cm
Image Area: 8 10/16 x 12 1/4 in -- 21.9 x 30.8 cm
Format: Lithograph printed directly on page
Page thickness: Thick card stock.
W. Heine del.
Litho of Sarony & Co, 117 Fulton St, New York
Whampoa Pagoda (No. 3)


Accompanying Text Page.

Pagoda at Whampoa.

SAILING up the Canton River, the traveller's eye is attracted by four singular looking monuments or towers, erected at nearly equal distances ---the first not far from the mouth of the river, or Boca-Tigris, the last near the walls of Canton.

These Pagodas, according to some travellers, were erected as military and telegraphic stations; the Chinese say they were built to drive away the evil spirits with which their fancy peoples the air. It is remarkable that these Pagodas, usually situated in the vicinity of some populous town, are allowed to decay as long as the town is flourishing, but if any misfortune, such as pestilence, fire, etc., visits the place, they are immediately repaired and embellished.

The Pagoda represented in this print is situated near Whampoa, on the summit of a hill, near a small temple, with which it seems to be connected.

The form is an octagon, measuring about forty feet in diameter at its foundation, and diminishing gradually to about twenty feet near the top, with walls thirteen feet thick at the base. Nine stories contain each a separate gallery on the outside, and staircases inside of each story, running diagonally across the building, have an ascent of about forty-five degrees. The first stop is near the gallery, and the last one on the opposite side near the gallery next above it, and in order to reach the second flight, one has to pass on the outside, round seven eighths of the gallery, where another door opens, so that each of the eight sides in succession shows one door, and the last or ninth one has a second door near the top, just above the place where at the base the main entrance is.

The whole height of the Pagoda is about 225 or 230 feet. It is built substantially of bricks, and covered with a very hard white cement, in some places painted red and yellow. Although the walls are in a perfect state of preservation, and have comparatively a new appearance, the wood-work is much decayed, and the part of the staircase that once led across the open space in the interior, and was probably constructed of wood, has entirely disappeared, so that an ascent is now impossible. How those wooden steps have been destroyed is a matter of speculation, as no traces of fire or other violent destruction are left.

The hill on which the Pagoda stands is covered with numerous tombs, built in the form of a horse-shoe, as may bo seen in the engraving. At the time of the artist's visit, a procession, headed by priests and accompanied as usual with music of flutes, violins, and gongs, was bringing annual offerings to the grave of some relative, bearing witness to the great respect the Chinese have for their dead.

For the visitors of Whampoa, this Pagoda offers an agreeable excursion, and from it a charming view of the Canton River and the Whampoa anchorage can be obtained. For mariners it serves as an important land-mark.


Plates 1~10
Graphic Scenes
of the Japan Expedition


    Return to the Main Page for Graphic Scenes of the Japan Expedition.

    Introduction (Text Only)

    Plate #1 - Portrait of Commodore Perry

    Plate #2 - Macao from Penha Hill

    Plate #3 - The Pagoda of Wampoa - Colored

    Available for Purchase - Folio Print on Bristol Board

    Plate #4 - Old China Street in Canton - Colored

    Plate #5 - Kung-twa at Lew-Chew

    Plate #6 - Mia, the Roadside Chapel at Yoku-hama

    Plate #7 - Temple of Ben-teng, in the Harbor at Simoda

    Plate #8 - Street and Bridge at Simoda

    Plate #9 - Temple of Ha-tshu-man-ya Tschu-ro, at Simoda

    Plate #10 - Grave-yard at Simoda, Dio Zenge

    Available for Purchase - Folio Print on Bristol Board


    Image Area: This is the measurements for the frame box that surrounds each image.

    • Type I - Lithograph printed on separate sheet which is tipped (affixed) to the page (book format) or bristol board (folio format). Titling to the lithograph is printed on the page/board.

    • Type II - Entire lithograph (including titling) is printed onto the page (book format) or bristol board (folio format).

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Perry Expedition to Japan Books & Lithographs