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Chinese opera photographs

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 621

Scope and Contents

The Chinese opera photographs collection contain large matted photographs primarily featuring the Chinese opera performer Mei Lan-Fang and other performers. Chinese opera traditionally depicts historic and fictional characters, battles, and supernatural spirits. Of note are pictures of a southern Chinese troupe performing "Pocahontas," the Ramayana, and "Othello." The photographs are primarily in black and white, although some are hand-colored, and are mounted on 11 matte boards with accompanying descriptions.


  • Creation: approximately 1910-1930

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

The material is stored off site. Please request 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, Michigan State University Libraries.

Biographical / Historical

Mei Lan, or more commonly known by his stage name of Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) was one of the most famous Peking opera artists, renowned for playing female lead roles, as was traditionally done in Peking opera. As one of the most prominent Chinese actors in the early 20th century, he introduced Peking opera to international audiences by performing in Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union.


1.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Paul Love, director of the former Kresge art museum at Michigan State University, in 1975.

Processing Information

Lydia Tang processed this collection in 2018.

Sources consulted in creating this finding aid include Min Tian. "Mei Lanfang and the Twentieth-Century International Stage: Chinese Theatre Placed and Displaced." New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012.

Finding Aid for Chinese opera photographs
4 Published And Cataloged
Lydia Tang
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48823 USA