Welcome to France China Archives, an open-access platform that inventories photographic archives of China located in France. It encompasses private and public holdings, whose content cover the period 1840s to the present. It is designed to provide a scholarly digital space for the study of the variety of photographic practices in China, while making accessible French resources to the scholarly community, students, and the general public.

The implementation of this project relies on the use of Omeka S, a next-generation web publishing platform for institutions interested in connecting digital cultural heritage collections with other resources online. The images are made available with the agreement of their owners to support teaching and learning, and research. There are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, and thus presented here for routine use in classroom or home. Please feel free to let us you what you do with them. 

 


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    Children playing a sort of outdoor snooker © Dominique Darbois | Courtesy of Françoise Denoyelle
  • Dominique Darbois

    Dominique Darbois (1925-2014) was the daughter of a major specialist of Asian arts and a novelist. She participated in the Free French Forces during the Second World War in 1941. Being a member of the resistance and Jewish, she was arrested and imprisoned at the Drancy camp for two years. In 1944, she continued to fight against the occupiers and received the Resistance Medal. In 1945 France was liberated and Darbois left for Indochina via Shanghai. Although she was only twenty, she had already lived several lives. After the war ended, she came back to France and became the assistant of the French photographer Pierre Jahan, which prompted her career as a photographer. In 1951, she organized an expedition to Amazonia and Guyana with Francis Mazière and Wladimir Ivanov, from which originated four publications: “Parana le petit Indien” (1952), “Les Indiens d’Amazonie” (1954), “Mission Tumuc-Humac” (1954), “Yanamalé village of the Amazon”. The first publication was translated into eight languages. She then began the collection "Enfants du monde” [Children of the world], a series of twenty volumes containing images and texts by Darbois herself. This collection offered a world tour not from an ethnographic standpoint but rather as a photographer committed to meet children in a world where not everyone was born equal. She surveyed over fifty countries. If she spent only a few days in Mongolia in 1957, she actually stayed much longer in China during the Hundred Flowers period [during which the Communist Party encouraged its citizens to openly express their opinions of the communist regime]. Thanks to the French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson – who photographed the last days of the political party Kuomintang in 1949 – she obtained a visa only a few people would get at that time. She accompanied an archaeological expedition that led her to photograph the Maijishan Grottoes in Gansu province as well as the Gobi Desert. She captured daily life in both cities and the countryside, while seizing traditions: acrobatics, games of chance, operas, puppets shows… and the new oil refineries around Lanzhou, oil wells around Yumen, political posters, and even the lives of prisoners in labour camps. In 1960 she published “Les Algériens en guerre” [Algerian at war]. She completed reportage on the maquis and the training camps of the National Liberation Front [the socialist political party in Algeria] in Tunisia. This reportage was forbidden in France. Darbois was interested in the moving world and in ancient civilizations. She published “Kaboul, le passé confisqué. Trésors du musée de Kaboul, 1931-1965” [Kabul, the confiscated past. Treasures of the Kabul Museum, 1931-1965] (2002). While she could have put aside her cameras, started to manage her archives, once again she committed herself to women in France and in Africa. She published then “Afrique, terre de femmes” [Africa, land of women] (2004) and “Terre d’enfants” [Children's Land] (2004), with a text written by Pierre Amrouche. This was her ultimate work.
  • The Yangtze River Bridge at Nanking

    Postcard that shows the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge (Nanjing Changjiang daqiao, 南京长江大桥), which is is a double-decked road-rail truss bridge completed and open for traffic in 1968. The postcard was published by the Waiwen chubanshe in Beijing 外文出版社, 北京.
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    Postcard that shows power lines in crops
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    Postcard that shows men acting in a Chinese play. Published by the Waiwen chubanshe in Beijing 外文出版社, 北京
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    Postcard that shows a beach view with workers
  • Chijun nüxing zhongdui 赤军女性中队

    Postcard sleeve. Published in 1971. It shows a female soldier dancing for a revolutionary opera and armed with a gun.
  • Chijun nüxing zhongdui 赤军女性中队

    Postcard sleeve with inscriptions written in blue pen. Published in 1971. It shows a female soldier dancing for a revolutionary opera and armed with a gun.
  • West Lake 西湖

    Postcard sleeve that contained originally 8 postcards published between 1964 (first edition) and 1966 (third edition). Sold 0,64 RMB.
  • Zuguo jianshe 祖国建设

    Postcard sleeve
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    Postcard sleeve
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    Bay with boats