University of Bristol - Historical Photographs of China reference number: Bo01-099. No caption in the album for this photograph of Chinese men playing a board game (chess, according to John Thomson, but probably Weiqi, the game of Go). This group of priests lived at the Temple of the Five Hundred Gods (Temple of the Five Hundred Genii, Flowery Forest Monastery, 華林寺, Hualin si, Wa Lum, Hua Lin temple), Canton (Guangzhou). The man in the centre of this photograph is the Abbot. The temple is described as follows in A Pictorial Handbook to Canton: 'A temple which the amateur photographer should not miss visiting, situated in the “Great Market Street.” Many interesting photographs can be obtained of this picturesque building. The temple is dedicated to the Five Genii, who, according to Chinese legends, came to Canton riding through the air on rams. The rams are supposed to have been turned to stone. These stones are preserved in one of the halls of the temple, called “The Sacred Palace of the Five Genii.” In the court-yard is a large square tower, in which an enormous bronze bell is suspended.’ Source: Pictorial Handbook to Canton (Middlesbrough, Hood & Co., 1905), p.15. Photograph by John Thomson (see the negative at the Wellcome Collection). See UB01-21.
Buddhist monks playing Weiqi (the game of Go), Temple of the Five Hundred Gods (華林寺), Guangzhou
Black and white photograph