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Frontiers of a forbidden land

Identifier: Film Collection no. 151

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the AMNH First Asiatic Zoological Expedition to Yunnan and Fukien, China, 1916-1917. This is the record of the AMNH First Asiatic Zoological Expedition to eastern and southwestern China (Fukien and Yunnan provinces), the purpose of which was to collect zoological specimens and visual ethnographic records. Roy Chapman Andrews, was accompanied by his wife, Yvette Borup Andrews, who served as photographer, and Edmund Heller, collector and explorer, who served as specimen preparator. The film opens as the expedition's mule caravan moves through Yunnan (K'un-Ming); the expedition mules are seen being packed. A goral that had been collected is shown. The expedition reaches the Yangtze River where the mules are unpacked and with great difficulty are boarded onto flat boats that ferry the caravan across the river. The spectacular gorge in the Snow Mountain Range is filmed, and near the Tibetan border a camel caravan is seen. The expedition caravan moves through the Mekong Valley and along the Mekong River until it makes camp. At Wa-tien a sambar deer is collected and brought to camp. A Shan tribesman contortionist performs for the expedition staff. In Tali, portraits of Chinese are filmed, as well as the city gate; and a fur trader's market in Li-Chiang. The expedition is next seen camping in the Snow Mountains (southern spur of the Himalayas). Moso people are seen tending sheep and various tribespeople are filmed in Meng-ting. Along the Burmese border the Nam-k Shan are shown building a pole and thatch house; and the local costume of wide pants or skirts, short jackets and turbans is seen. A serow is collected, and Lisu men demonstrate the use of their crossbows. The final sequence is of two Tibetan bear cubs, that the Andrews bought in Tengyueh (T'eng-ch'ung), who are seen at two weeks, six weeks, and seven months. One cub died, and the other was brought to America and given to the National Zoo. Yvette Andrews is seen feeding them, and there are scenes of Roy C. Andrews playing with them. This is the remnant of a longer film, and according to Roy C. Andrews's notes is out-of-order.


  • 1916-1917


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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


1 Film Reel (36 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (36 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.


English subtitles.


Yvette Borup Andrews, photographer.

Frontiers of a forbidden land, 1916-1917
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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