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The Central Asiatic Expeditions : Peking

Identifier: Film Collection no. 150

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the AMNH Third Asiatic Expedition to China and Mongolia, 1921-1930. Film brought from the U.S. was intended for recording the expedition, but some precious film was used to photograph Peking (now Beijing), the site of the expedition's headquarters. Because of the need to conserve film, this film is choppy, but provides a record of the city in the 1920s. The varied modes of transport are shown: trolleys, ox carts, sedan chairs, rickshaws, camels, wheelbarrows, horsedrawn carriages, and cars. The film was probably made in summer when dust from unpaved streets and sand blown from the Gobi Desert choked the city, for several methods used to dampen the streets to keep the dust down are shown. Two processions, one a wedding, the other a funeral, move through the busy streets. An overall view of the main sites of the city is shown, including the Front and Bell gates leading to the Forbidden City, the Desheng Gate to the Ming Tombs, Tianamen Square (then a park), the Bank of China building, and parks and gardens. The expedition headquarters, a typical wealthy merchant's house with a central courtyard, is seen with a young girl playing in the front lawn. This building has since been razed to make way for a high-rise.


  • 1922-1928


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (7 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (7 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16 mm. print; incomplete.


James Barnes Shackelford, photographer.

The Central Asiatic Expeditions : Peking, 1922-1928
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
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