Looking back to the Ambilight of Old Peking 100 years ago <The Interesting Scene of Peiping Color Edition>
Photos are the freeze-frame of time of the existence of people and material objects. Long time ago, before the appearance of color photography technology, people tried to add colors on the black-and-white photographs to restore abundant contents more lively. Gradually, this process itself developed into an art form.
Silver-paper hand-painting, is a such kind of special technique：hand-painting on the developed black-and-white photos to achieve the effect of restoring the original film of photographic fields. This technique asks for a high skill level, extraordinary patience and adequate carefulness of the painter to make each frame of the hand-painted photographs had its own beauty.
《The Temple of Heaven，Happy New Year Hall 》
<The Interesting Scene of Peiping Color Edition> is such an album in which all photographs are a combination of silver-paper and hand-painting, published by Peiping Art and Picture Gallery, full of classical scenery of old Peiping. All of the photographs were taken in 1920 including famous view spots such as Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and civilian images, restored the style and features of Peiping in the era of the Republic of China. All photographs are accompanied by English descriptions.
Let us look carefully at this photograph: the tiny changes of colors in the photo shows the fine skill of hand-painting of the painter. The realistic effects of the photographs in this album are comparable to the color photos. These photographs are the elaborate works among its kind of silver-paper hand-painted photographs.
These old photographs restored the scenery of Peiping truly and made it possible for us to get the feeling of facing the history directly. Take the photo of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest of The Temple of Heaven for example, the plaque of the hall was written in both Chinese and Manchu language, but now we can see Chinese only. This aroused my deeper curiosity about where was the hall from and what had it experienced.
The predecessor of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest was the Great Prayer Hall, it was constructed in the 18th year of the reign of Ming Emperor Yongle(1420). It was square and used for worshiping both heaven and earth. In the 24th year of Ming Emperor Jiajing(1545) it was extended to a round hall with three roofs, named “Tycoon Hall”. After being renovated in the 16th year of Qing Emperor Qianlong(1751), the hall was renamed as “The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest” and its three floors of tiled roofs were all rebuilt to cyan glazed tiles. The Hall was wrecked by a fire caused by lightening in the 15th year of Qing Emperor Guangxu(1889), and later destroyed by the Eight Nation Alliance, then the hall was in ruins. In 1914 when Yuan Shikai started the Restoration, a little renovation was done to the Temple of Heaven. Then, until 1935, the Cultural Relics Management Committee of the old capital organized a group of Ancient Architecture experts headed by Lin Huiyin and Liang Sicheng couple to renovate the Temple. Agreed by the government of the city, only “祈年殿” three words on the plaque were kept and the Manchu words were omitted.
<vision of imprinted heart><印心视界>interprets the historical memories, humanism spirit and natural beauty that bore by the old photographs vividly from the angle of the ancients, on the perspective of times; activates the deep memory by meditating deeply; and makes old photographs fresh and alive!