Plate 4
Graphic Scenes of the Japan Expedition
Lithographs by William Heine - 1856

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Plate 4, Old China Street in Canton

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 11/16 x 12 1/2 in -- 21.7 x 31.9 cm
Format: Lithograph printed directly on the page
Page thickness: Thick card stock.
W. Heine del.
Litho of Sarony & Co, 117 Fulton St, New York
Old China Street, Canton. (No. 4)


Accompanying Text Page.

Old China Street in Canton.

WHOEVER has once been in Canton, will never forget the bustle and the noisy crowd in old China street, near the foreign factories; but it requires more than one visit to become familiar with tho odd-looking houses and the shops full of goods and finery, which, as the horizontal hanging siga-boards tell, may be bought of the best quality, and at the lowest prices.

The streets of Canton are very narrow, so that one might almost shakE hands with his neighbor across the street; and old China street (nearly twenty feet wide) is consequently one of the principal streets of the whole suburb. The shopkeepers trade almost exclusively with the foreign community, principally in tea, silk, china ware, and carved objects.

The lower floor of each house is generally used as a shop, which is entirely open toward the street. The goods are exhibited on tables and shelves, and are shown to the best possible advantage. Often is the inexperienced foreigner induced by the seemingly low prices, and the shopkeeper's power of persuasion, to pay for those neat articles twice or thrice their real value.

The door, adorned with two largo lanterns and a black sign-board with gilt letters, at the right of the picture, invites us into Mr. A-tshow's, store, where we may buy silk, crape shawls, fans, china ware, etc., etc. On the left, a tobacconist is praising his article to a native customer, and near his door a woman sells chow chow, or little tit-bits of eatables, consisting of minute portions of roast meat, fowl, vegetables, or confectionery. At the right, in the foreground, a money-broker is calculating whether he will accept the dollar he is just weighing, at the rate of 1200 or 1250 cash (a small copper coin).

Farther up the street, "Mr. Lainbqua, handsome face-painter," invites customers to be either portrayed in oil colors, after the fashion of the Fan-quays (foreign barbarians), or to purchase his Chinese paintings on rice paper, representing Chinese customs and manners; or birds, flowers, and butterflies, painted in most faithful and life-like style.

In the sedan chair, in the middle of the street, a lady is on her way to visit a friend; and near the corner of the street, some boys are amusing themselves by making crickets fight in a little tin pan. This cruel pleasure in China is as usual a sport as cockfighting in Spanish countries, and often high bets are made, and heavy sums are staked on the little prize-fighters, who not seldom lose life and limb in the contest.

Another game consists in throwing a few grains of rice between two half-starved partridges. As soon as one tries to pick up the food, the other flies at him in great rage, and a furious fight ensues, sometimes ending in the death of both combatants.

Although there are no vehicles in the streets of Canton, they are nearly as noisy as Broadway. The carriers transporting goods, either single or in couples, yell their "Ohe, Ohe," to make room, and buyers and sellers try to make themselves as conspicuous as possible, so that, after some time, the garden of the factories near at hand becomes a very welcome refuge from the crowd.


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