[ASIA / ITALIAN COLONIALISM] Album with 176 gelatin silver photos of China, Korea, Japan, Libya and Rhodes taken during the exploration of an Italian naval officer

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Original decorative cloth album with Chinese color figures and letters. Oblong small 4to. (19 x 27 cm). A couple of images are very slightly faded, and one has chipped. one photo is missing from the album. 33 card stock leaves including mounted 176 gelatin silver photos. Almost all photographs with detailed period ink captions in Italian are on photographic paper. Seven photos' sizes 18x13 cm; ca. 65 photos' sizes 14x9 cm, others 10x8 cm and 7x5 cm.

Images document the journey and expeditions of the Italian naval forces in Beijing, Shangai, Tientsin [i.e. Tinjian], Tsingtao [i.e. Qingdao], Hankow [i.e. Hankou], and Yangtze River in China. Most of the photographs were taken in Beijing and Shanghai, and several ones were taken in Tokyo and Kobe in Japan with Seoul of Korea; Libia [i.e. Libya], Constantinopoli [i.e. Constantinople (Modern day: Istanbul)], Rodi [i.e. Rhodes], Kos Island and Trieste Harbour. 

Historically significant extensive collection of original photographs taken between 1922-1927, documenting the Italian concession (zujie) that existed in China in 1920s, and Korea and Japan, which is the only example of Italian colonialism in Asia. Italy has one of the earliest concessions of the 20th century in China. This concession was located in the Hebei district of modern Tianjin. It was established in 1901 as a consequence of the signature of the «Boxer Protocol», since Italian troops had participated in an international military mission, called the eight-nation alliance, which on 14 August 1900 had entered and occupied Beijing, putting an end to the Boxer Rebellion. On 7 June 1902, the concession was taken into Italian possession and administered by an Italian consul (as a special kind of "colony", fully owned by the Kingdom of Italy): the first was Cesare Poma and the last (in 1943) was Ferruccio Stefenelli. With other foreign concessions, the Italian concession lay on the Pei Ho, southeast of the city center. The "Legione Redenta" [i.e. Redeemed Legion] was created in the summer of 1918 in China and attached to the "Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Estremo Oriente" [i.e. Italian Expedition in the Far East]. China terminated the leases of Germany and Austria-Hungary concessions in 1917. The districts were converted into "Special Areas" with a separate administration from the rest of Tientsin (Tianjin). But Italy requested the Austrian concession after World War I: it was obtained only in June 1928 and soon returned to Chinese authorities when the Second Special Area (one of the former Austrian concessions) was in danger of war and occupation during the China civil war. After WW I, the Kingdom of Italy maintained troops in an area of Shanghai. Then Hankow and Amoy as well, which was used as commercial concession inside the Shanghai International Settlement (S.I.S.).

These photographic images of a long voyage to the Italian colonies in Asia, richly document mostly Chinese, along with Japanese and Korean social life, maritime, transportation, etc. A tombstone photograph of Italian soldiers who died in the Battle of Beijing, or historically the Relief of Peking, was the battle fought on 14-15 August 1900 in Beijing, in which the Eight-Nation Alliance relieved the siege of the Beijing Legation Quarter during the Boxer Rebellion. It's written on the tombstone "caddero combattendo per l'onore della bandiera d'Italia" [i.e. they fell fighting for the honor of the flag of Italy], and then the name of the soldiers.; L'aiutante maggiore del distaccamento di Pechino [i.e. The adjutant major of the Beijing detachment].