[Dalian], ca. 1902. 26,5x38 cm. With 36 photogravures, each with a printed title and a number on a paper label pasted to the lower margin. Original colour lithographed publisher’s wrappers, with a large gilt lettered title on the front wrapper. The leaves and wrappers fastened with original strings. Wrappers slightly soiled, with minor tears, right lower corner of the front wrapper with a minor loss neatly repaired, but otherwise a very good internally clean album.
Interesting rare album of photogravures bringing to life the short-lived Russian history of Dalian – now a major Chinese seaport and commercial hub in the Yellow Sea, which was known as Dalny (“A remote one”) during its construction and administration by the Russians in 1898-1905. Together with its current suburb Port Arthur (Lüshunkou) Dalny became a major battleground of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and was known as Dairen during the Japanese occupation (1905-45). Soviet troops leased both Dalian and Lüshun as military and naval bases in 1945-55; later both cities were handed over to the full control of the Chinese government.
In 1902 Dalny was the newly-built furthermost Russian outpost in the Far East, a terminus of the Russian-built Chinese Eastern Railway, and a vibrant ice-free commercial port which took the second place after Shanghai in terms of goods turnover in the region from the Sea of Okhotsk to the South-China Sea. The album is a rare example of a special promotional edition published to advertise the new city and port to Russian businesses; most likely the album was printed in one of Dalny’s typographies. The album opens with a plan, showing modern-day Dalian’s port and downtown core, with the Nikolayevskaya (now Zhongshan) Square in the centre; the plan marks European and Chinese parts, commercial and administrative quarters, port and harbour area; Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches, city museum, theatre, hotel, banks, police station, gymnasiums for boys and girls, street market etc. The photogravure views proper include several panoramas of Dalny and its quarters, and about thirty street views, giving a detailed look at the distinctive architectural style of the new city, which combined the elements of neo-Russian and classic Chinese architecture. Interesting views show the buildings of the port administration, house of the Chief engineer, city hospital, Orthodox church and school, temporary office of the Russo-Chinese Bank, Hotel “Dalny,” city park and gardens, temporary building of the railway station, European cemetery etc.; the street views show Inzhenerny Prospect, Timmovskaya Street (with the street sign of “G.S. Zazunov’s Confectionery” clearly seen on the right), Belyayevskaya Street (richly decorated with Russian flags), Administrativnaya Square, Ugolny Prospect, “Temporary Chinese bazaar,” Moskovsky Prospect; Kiyevsky Prospect; there are also scenes of construction of a port’s dock and the electrical station, and a photo of “Arrival to Dalny of the Chief Engineer and City Governor V.V. Sakharov, on July 26, 1902” (Vladimir Sakharov (1860-1904), the chief designer and engineer during the construction of Dalny, previously the chief designer of the port of Vladivostok, died of typhoid fever during the siege of Port Arthur). The original illustrated publisher’s wrapper is decorated with a map of the Liaoning Peninsula, showing the location of Dalian and outlining the Chinese Eastern Railway. Overall a very interesting historically significant album showing the early years of Russian Dalian.