Cixi (慈禧太后), Empress Dowager of China, 1835-1908, Photographs. Forty-four glass plate negatives depicting the Empress Dowager of China, Cixi of the Qing dynasty, taken between 1903 to 1905 by the photographer Xunling (勋龄; ca.1880-1943). Scenes include the empress dowager on the imperial barge, in the Summer Palace (颐和园) with attendants, and individual portraits of Cixi in varieties of court attire. Other important figures of the royal court depicted are Empress Longyu (隆裕皇后; 1868 - 1913), Jinfei ((瑾妃; 1874 - 1924), Princess Der Ling (德龄公主; 1885 - 1944), Rongling (容龄;1882-1973), Lady Yugeng (裕太太), first chief eunuch Li Lianying (李連英; 1848 -1911), and second chief eunuch Cui Yugui (崔玉贵). The negatives were at one time in the possession of Xunling's sister, Princess Der Ling, who used many of them to illustrate her books on Cixi and the imperial Qing court. The collection includes thirty-five original glass plate negatives by Xunling and nine glass plate negatives copied from various sources, likely made for illustrations in Princess Der Ling's books and articles. Included in the acquisitions file is a 4 page typed essay by Lydia Dan (d. 2005), Xunling's niece, which identifies Xunling as the original photographer and describes the history of the photographs and anecdotes relating to Xunling and his family.
The photographs are divided into four groups:
1. Twenty-four large negatives, 24.1 x 17.8 cm (SC-GR-243 to SC-GR-265; unnumbered). Original photographs by Xunling taken in the Forbidden City or the Summer Palace .
2. Eleven smaller negatives, 12.7 x 10.2 cm. (SC-GR-270-272; 276-277; 279-284). Mostly informal portraits of Cixi and the court taken with a more portable camera.
3. Nine smaller negatives, 12.7 x 10.2 cm. (SC-GR-266-269; 273-275; 278; 285). These are copies of prints from other sources, possibly taken for Xunling's sister, the Princess Der Ling to illustrate her English language books and magazine articles. SC-GR-275 is a copy from a worn, damaged print of a famous Xunling photograph. SC-GR-285 is copied from a poor print of SC-GR-265. SC-GR-278 is a detail copied from SC-GR-261.
4. SC-GR-285a is a print of a group of Han Chinese women.