China is one of the world's four most ancient civilizations dating back to over 3,000 years. In older times before cameras were invented, people used to preserve their history and customs by painting.

China's diverse and intriguing history and culture has always been a photographer's favorite topic. Read on to find about 10 rare photos of 19th century China and how you can edit them using the modern AI photo restoration tools.

Restore old photos with VanceAI Photo Restorer

If you have old photographs of Chinese civilization then restoring them is as easy as a piece of cake. VanceAI Photo Restorer or any AI photo enhancer can help remove scratches, spots, fractures, and sepia from old and vintage photos and transform them into anew. Not only does it enhance the quality of pictures but it also does color correction and improves the minor details of human faces, and also make photo hd

Another tool, the VanceAI Photo Colorizer can help colorize old black and white photos enhancing their vibrancy and quality, 100% automatically. Using a deep Convolutional Neural Network, the AI image colorizer is trained to add natural and real-life colors to old photos while reducing the blur effects and noise from the pictures.

VanceAI PC is full-featured desktop software developed by VanceAI that lets you instantly process local photos in bulk with more customization options, which will significantly simplify your workflow and boost your productivity. Free Download

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Using the image colorizer tool isn't as difficult as you might think. By following the below-mentioned steps you can easily colorize old Chinese civilization photos and make them more lively.

Step 1:  Visit the VanceAI website

Visit the VanceAI website and search for the Photo Colorizer. Click on the yellow button to get started. The website layout is very simple to navigate.

Step 2: Choose the picture

Select the picture you want to colorize from your computer. The picture will be automatically uploaded to the website and will be ready for colorization.

Step 3: Start processing and preview

Click on the "start process" button and the image will be edited in a matter of a few seconds. You can also preview the results

Step 4: Download the results

If you are interested, you can try to colorize your image now or download it directly from the pop-up window on the right without leaving this article.

You can also download the colored picture for your keepsake. The uploaded pictures will be deleted from the VanceAI website after 24 hours to guarantee the safety of users. For more photo restoration tools and tips, you can read photo repair guide.

Rare photos of China in the 19th century

Many photographers have spent their lifetimes capturing different eras of Chinese civilization. When we look at their works, we get a glimpse of the growth of China from a poor country to one of the world's largest economies and its customs and traditions. Here are some of the rare photos of 19th century China.

1. Caravan of camels

An Antiquarian Stephen Loewentheil spent almost 30 years capturing early Chinese civilization. Some of his pictures are now a part of an exhibition at a museum in Beijing.

This is one of his most famous photos. It shows how the Chinese people back then used camels to transport goods from one place to another. This picture was taken by Englishman Thomas Child in the 1870s.

2. Young barbers

In the above picture, you can see two barbers taking care of their customers in a salon. This picture shows the simple tools and furniture used by people in older times. The clear difference between the barber's and customers' dressing shows two different aspects of society. 

3. Li Hongzhang's portrait

Liang Shitai, a renowned photographer took the above image of a Chinese politician Li Hongzang during the Qing Dynasty. The signature hat and long coat worn by the politician is the cultural dress of Chinese people.

4. The Seventeen-Arch Bridge

The Seventeen-Arch bridge was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. It looks like a rainbow arching over the water and is one of the most important tourist attractions in China. This picture was taken by Thomas Child in the 1870s.

5. A beautiful waterfall

Chinese artisans became photographers to keep up with the technology when cameras were invented. They started capturing pictures of beautiful and aesthetic parts of China and this art was extended throughout the country during the last half of the 19th century. This is one of the 19th century China photos showing a beautiful picture of water streaming down a hill, which was taken by Li Afong in 1870.

6. The Heavenly Peace Street

The above photo shows a glimpse of Canton street in China in the 1870s. Ye Zhen captured the narrow street, songs with Chinese characters, and hanging lanterns in the most beautiful way possible.

7. Jade Belt bridge

Englishman Thomas Child took the above picture of Jade Belt Bridge also known as the Camel's Back bridge in the 19th century. The photo shows its distinctive tall thin single arch beautifully. Thomas Child is best known for his pioneering photography in China. Many of his works from 19th century photos China are now in exhibitions in museums in Beijing.

8. Men with umbrellas 

This picture was taken by a British photographer William Saunders sometime in the 1870s. Three men staring into the camera holding umbrellas hide hundreds of stories and emotions behind them.

9. A young woman

Stephen Loewentheil spent decades gathering images of China taken by both Western and Chinese photographers. This picture is also one of the 15,000 pictures he collected during his lifetime. Above, in this undated picture, a young woman poses for a photo with blank facial expressions. Her neat hair and dress indicate that she is probably from the upper class of society.

10. The great wall of china

This picture shows the Great Wall of China and its gate. It was taken by Thomas Child in the 1870s and is now a part of the Loewentheil Collection.


China holds thousands of stories on its soil. In old times people used to live in small villages, ate simple foods, and wore animal skins to protect themselves from harsh weather. Now, China has become the world's biggest economy. We get to have a deeper glimpse into their culture through these old China 19th century photos.  

Old photo restoration online is now easy with VanceAI tools like VanceAI Photo Colorizer and image enhancer can help you enhance and colorize old photos online in just a few seconds.

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Amaya Hamilton
Amaya Hamilton
A passionate content writer. Mostly likes to write about technology and social media related topics. You can see more of my work over on my own blog Amaya Hamilton.