In a treasure evaluation show in China, a French woman brought the treasure that her grandfather passed on to see what experts would say about it.
The things she brought to the show were vintage photos of the past. The audience, then, laughed at her in thinking that photos are nothing to be considered a treasure.
However, these were indeed no normal photos. They were taken during the last days of the Qing dynasty. Especially, they were printed on glass.
The way they took photos in the past is not similar to how we take photos today. The photography techniques and skills were more “raw” and complicated. The camera then had to be covered by a black cloth with a flash nearby to light things up. When people in the zoom were ready, click simultaneously with the flash on, a white smoke arise and that’s it.
What’s more important here was not how they took the photos but the content they carry.
The guest brought 3 photos. One is of Empress Dowager Cixi and her eunuchs and other escorts. One is the landscape of an ancient commodity market during the last years of the Qing dynasty. Another photo was the picture of Beijing.
The French woman shared that these photos belonged to a Chinese who presented them to her grandfather.
On hearing that, an expert retorted with a question: “Who is your grandfather? How could he have the photo of Empress Dowager Cixi?”
The French woman replied: “My grandfather used to work in the French Embassy. At the time, a Chinese who was in charge of photographing the royal family had a close relationship with my grandfather and he give my grandfather those photos.”
After her response, the audience was rustling. They were all taken aback for the fact that in the past, people who could afford visiting China were super-wealthy.
The expert continued: “These 3 photos were all taken during the last days of the Qing dynasty. Among them, the most valuable was the one of the ancient good market.”
The French woman looked confused: “Why? Why not the one capturing Empress Dowager Cixi?”
The expert replied with a smile: “Because photos of this kind are not rare while the photo of the ancient market is a great contribution to the work of researching the Chinese culture in the Qing dynasty.
Such a glass-printed photo with no flaws must have great value in terms of collection but not money. If only there was a negative film of it, its value will be much higher. Thanks for bringing it to China for evaluation.”
After knowing the truth about the ancient photos left by her grandfather, the French woman felt nothing but content. Though it’s worth much in terms of money, she felt grateful and respectful of the meaning of her grandfather’s mementos.
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