Image Nature: Photograph
Image Author: William Saunders (Dubious)
Creation: 1862-1870 (Certain)
Creation Place: (Dubious)
Topic: Judiciary beheading
Action: An executioner lifts his knife to behead a kneeling prisoner. An aide holds the man’s queue to keep his head in line. Two attendants stand on either side of the judge’s temporary tribunal in the shed. The numerous spectators include an official riding a white horse. A wall and Western roofs are seen in the background.
Image Particulars: This is a heavily touched version of a photograph published for the first time in 1870. This very fine studio reconstruction has been used with many descriptions, generally entirely out of context. It is clear from the back buildings (not very clear on this version) that the scene was shot in the Western Settlement of Shanghai, one of several details showing that it is not real life.