Peking, Pechili province, China: three Manchu Ministers at the Office of Foreign Affairs, late Qing. Photograph by John Thomson, 1869.
Three men seated, out of doors, with a rockery to the left, and the terrace of a house (or a gazebo?) behind them. The men on the left and right hold pipes, the central one rests his right arm on a table. A servant stands on the extreme right hand side. They are the three Manchu ministers at Office for Foreign Affairs: (left to right) Cheng Lin, Bao Jun and Wen Xiang. Of the three, Cheng Lin was the youngest member of the Office of Foreign Affairs, being not yet more than forty-five. Bao Jun, at the age of sixty-five, was also a member of the Grand Council and one of the Presidents of the Board of Finance. Wen Hsiang, born in Mukden in 1817, ranked next to Prince Gong in the Office of Foreign Affairs and had held the position since 1861. He was also a member of the Grand Council, President of the Board of Civil Service and Member of the Imperial Cabinet. A man of rare intellectual powers, coupled with his long experience in high office, Wen Hsiang was looked on as the most influential late Qing statesman
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