Juan Mencarini Pierotti (1860 – 1939) was a Spanish employee of the Imperial Maritime Customs Service of China from 1881 to 1912 and later a businessman in the import-export sector with base in Shanghai. Parallel to his professional career, Mencarini pioneered in the history of postage stamps in East Asia, contributed to learned societies with articles and lectures, and was reputed among the foreign community of the treaty ports as an accomplished amateur pictorialist photographer. Based on previously unexamined repositories,  contemporary press records, and the cataloguing and analysis of over two hundred photographs, this paper analyzes Mencarini’s preserved corpus of photographs as well as his participation in the creation of the first associations of amateur photographers in Shanghai and Fuzhou. Mencarini’s photographs captured human types, examples of craftsmanship and agriculture, and architectural landmarks of the area of Fuzhou, and reveal a generic Western imperialist gaze that articulates visual and textual discourses to support knowledge production and commercial opportunities, leaving room for the exploration of the aesthetics of pictorialism.


amateur photography, China’s treaty-ports, Customs Service, early photography, Fuzhou, Juan Mencarini

Please login first to access subscription form of article

Read Full text in PDF

Browse By

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)