Confucius. The Great Chinese Reformer and Sage--Born B.C. 551.
6.5 in HIGH x 4.25 in WIDE
(16.51 cm HIGH x 10.79 cm WIDE)
Gift of an Anonymous Donor

printed on verso
Printed below image in black ink: "Confucius. / The Great Chinese Reformer and Sage-Born B.C. 551. / Photographic Copy of the Original, Life-size Pencil Portrait executed by Anderson, Spirit Artist. En- / tered according to act of Congress, in the year 1874, in the Office of the Library of Congress, / Washington, D. C., by the PACIFIC ART UNION, of San Francisco, Cal., inc. March 1874."Printed on verso in blue ink in embellished cartouches: "WM. SHEW'S / Photographic Establishment / No. 523, KEARNY STREET, / SAN FRANCISCO." Printed "No." and handwritten "12 [n] 20-" in ink. Also handwritten in ink, " '84" plus illegible signature in cursive script along top margin.

This is an albumen print cabinet card that shows a reproduction of a portrait drawing of Confucius. The image shows a man in three-quarter profile with a thin moustache and braided hair. The man wears an embroidered jacket and a domed cap.

Wella and Pet Anderson, a husband and wife team of spirit artists, were famous for drawings they made of the departed while in a trance. Although they were often commissioned by individuals or families to paint likenesses of departed loved ones, they also engaged in portraiture of ancient seers, mystics and conquerors. The five portraits here, photographed by veteran San Francisco photographer William Shew, are from an exhibition the Andersons held at the Pacific Art Union. The prominent copyright notices printed on each cabinet photo indicate the images were sold to the general public. These photographs are good examples of the breadth and diversity of imagery that nineteenth century photographers were called upon to produce.

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