This French-made travelogue captures the austere beauty of the rugged mountain passes around the Great Wall of China, tracing a caravan of camels' journey to Qing-dynasty Beijing. Scenes of the cargo-laden beasts snorting plumes of hot breath into the mountain air evoke a centuries-old way of life on the Silk Road. In Beijing: a riot's grisly aftermath, and contrasting funerals of rich and poor.
The production company, Pathé, was one of several European and American companies working in China during the late Qing dynasty (before 1912). Their films capture the lost life and landscape of this ancient country.