Exploring China’s Turbulent 1920s
This rare collection of 25 original photographs offers a unique glimpse into China’s transformative 1920s.
Documenting the Nationalist Army and Northern Artillery, each image provides a snapshot of a crucial period in Chinese history. Measuring “4.5” x 3, these images were captured by American photographer Merl La Voy. Sold by Britannic Auctions for $1,300, this collection stands as a testament to China’s complex past.
China 1920s: A Nation in Flux
During the Northern Expedition, the Nationalist Army and Northern Army clashed and collaborated amidst political upheaval. These photos depict scenes of surrender, mobilization, and power dynamics as China sought unity under the Kuomintang (KMT).
The Northern Expedition
Led by the KMT, the Nationalist Army aimed to unify China and challenge northern warlords’ control. Despite successes, tensions simmered, leading to fractures within the alliance and the violent Shanghai Massacre.
Civil Strife and Division
The ensuing Chinese Civil War saw the Red Army’s triumph over the KMT, forcing Chiang Kai-shek’s retreat to Taiwan. This conflict shaped modern Chinese history, leaving a lasting impact on the nation’s political landscape.
The Shanghai Massacre in 1927, led by Chiang Kai-shek, marked a significant turning point. It resulted in a violent purge of communists within the KMT and the eventual split between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Behind the Camera: Merl La Voy
American photographer Merl La Voy was known for his work primarily in the mid-20th century. While he may not be as widely recognized as some other photographers of his day, he is noted for capturing images of landscapes, people, and scenes from various parts of the United States. He traveled to China in the 1920s and 1930s; some of his Chinese images are retained in the Online Archive of California today.
Get a Free Valuation for Historic Photographs
If you’re looking to sell a collection of historic photographs, we welcome you to submit a consignment inquiry. We offer complimentary valuations for collections of important historical photography. Explore the benefits of auction consignment for these types of images.