L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i



Sunday, September 15, 2019

The emperor in a rocky landscape - Pu Yi, last emperor of China, circa early 1920s


The Emperor Pu Yi in front, his brother-in-law Rong Qi and brother Pujie standing at the top.

The above photograph is almost the one I've been looking for. My visual memory is really very strong, and there are a handful of images, first seen decades ago, that I still remember quite clearly and hope to see again; I'm constantly on the hunt. One of them I saw on the back of an old magazine - Life or Look or some such - maybe thirty years ago and showed China's last emperor, the teen-aged Pu Yi, and a group of other young boys standing, backlit, on an artfully arranged hill of rocks, the gauzy, misty light filtering through the tree above them. So, very similar to this. But, as I remember it, the tree was directly behind them. And the bit of roof wasn't showing. Am I remembering it wrong, or was it another shot taken that same day but from a different angle? Hmm.... I love this image, too, but I don't think I'm quite ready to call off the search.

Pu Yi with Pujie, Rong Qi, and Sir Reginald Johnston, Pu Yi's English teacher, adviser, and father figure.
Pu Yi with Pujie, Rong Qi, and Sir Reginald Johnston.
Pu Yi with Pujie, Rong Qi, and Sir Reginald Johnston
Pu Yi with Pujie and Rong Qi. Pujie was Pu Yi's younger brother, and Rong Qi was the half-brother of Pu Yi's first wife, Wanrong.

Proclaimed emperor at the age of two, deposed at the age of six, Pu Yi remained in the Forbidden City, rarely leaving until, the result of another coup, he was expelled in 1924 at the age of eighteen. I believe that all of these images were taken in that vast complex of palaces and gardens.




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