Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more

Behind the Great Wall of China: Photographs from 1870 to the Present

Capa, Cornell, ed., with an introduction by Weston J. Naef
1972
112 pages
101 illustrations
View More Publication Info

Early in 1972 the Metropolitan Museum opened an exhibition of photographs that held visitors in fascination. The subject was China: the land, the people, the changing ways of life there. The perspective was historical, beginning with camera images of a century ago and progressing to documentary material almost as timely as today's news developments. This book contains the exhibition's highlights: work by the Scot, John Thomson, showing us China when the country was first generally open to Western travelers; photographs Edgar Snow and his wife made in Red territory during the years of struggle between the Communists under Mao Tse-tung and the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek; views of the Sino-Japanese conflict made by Robert Capa in 1938; images by Henri Cartier-Bresson encompassing the final days of the Kuomintang and the emergence of the new China; and work by Marc Riboud and René Burri capturing the present home look of the Chinese People's Republic, world power. Comments by the photographers themselves accompany their work, and a comprehensive, well-illustrated introduction traces the history of Western photography in China. One visitor to the exhibition, struck with the revelations the photographs provided, wrote, "We are left with the feeling of having observed not a mere century of the dramatic vicissitudes of a civilization, but something closer to a millennium." A similar impact is to be found in the present book.

Met Art in Publication

1870s
1937
1937
1937
A fifteen-year-old stands at attention before his company leaves for the front and the decisive Sino-Japanese battles of the year. Hankow, March, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
A woman mourns her husband, killed in the battle of Taierhchwang, April, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
His own garden provides this man with an air raid shelter, Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Air Raid, Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Air Raid, Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Air Raid, Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Air Raid, Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Air Raid, Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
After incendiary bombardments, a woman tries futilely to extinguish the fire. Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
A wounded soldier treks six miles to a hospital behind the front lines after the Chinese victory at Taierhchwang, April, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
After the bombardments, this mother is one of many who keep alive by eating herbs and roots, Taiherhchwang, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Mme. Chaing Kai-shek caring for the wounded. Hankow, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Chaing Kai-shek presides over his Supreme War Council just prior to the departure of the twenty-eight German advisors who had been instrumental in training his army. Hankow, July 4, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Departure of Chaing Kai-shek's German military advisors. Hankow, July 5, Robert Capa  American, born Hungary, Gelatin silver print
1938
Peking, Henri Cartier-Bresson  French, Gelatin silver print
1949, printed ca. 1972
Showing 20 of 29

You May Also Like

Citation

View Citations

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), and Cornell Capa, eds. 1972. Behind the Great Wall of China: Photographs from 1870 to the Present. Greenwich, Conn: Distributed by New York Graphic Society.