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Packing Pottery; Threshing; Camel Train - China C1932/33

Enigmatic scenes shot by a retired British teacher touring China in the early 1930s.

Amateur film 1933 4 mins Silent


These enigmatic scenes of Chinese pottery being carefully wrapped in straw may have been shot in Shanghai during a visit by Dr Reginald Clay, a London teacher who travelled to China after his retirement in the early 1930s. The camel train scenes are mysterious: the desert landscape appears more like northwest China than the regions Dr Clay is known to have visited around Beijing and Shanghai.

China in the early 20th century lacked a transport infrastructure. Modern packing materials and modes of transport were mostly unavailable, especially in rural and inland regions. Goods like pottery had to be packed to withstand a bumpy journey by horse, donkey or camel. Straw, a free by-product of farming, was the perfect solution.