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TSINGTAO – CHINA – POETRY: Original Photographs and a Diary with Poetry and Observations by a German soldier, stationed in Tsingtao, China, during the Russo-Japanese War.



An original diary with poetry and accompanying photographs belonged to a German soldier, stationed in the German colony in China before WWI, during the Russo-Japanese War. 

1 in stock


a. Mathias Briem. Matr. Artt. Tsingtau. Large 8°: [118 pp.] with 70 unnumbered pages with manuscript in German language in cursive in black ink, and 47 blank pages, some with scribbles in grey pencil, last page with manuscript in black ink, [2] loose pages with manuscript in black ink, original black half cloth binding with marbled paper boards, manuscript on the inner side of the boards (slightly age-toned and stained, binding scuffed with loss of paper on covers, some blank pages or parts of them contemporary torn or cut out, text pages seemingly complete, some sheets loose).

b. Visiting Card: Matthias Briem und Frau. Stade

Printed visiting card and manuscript in blue ballpoint, 5 x 11,5 cm (2 x 4.5 inches) (soft fold in the lower left corner, otherwise in a good condition).

c. Black and white photograph, originally mounted on card with printed name Shyshinkwan Chubo. Japan

Photograph: 10 x 14 cm (4 x 5.5 inches), card: 12 x 17,5 cm (4.7 x 6.9 inches) (light staining, verso with foxing, some soft folds, colour in a corner of the card chipped, otherwise in a good condition).
d. Black and white photograph, originally mounted on card with printed name 

Photograph: 13,8 x 10 cm (5.4 x 4 inches), card: 16 x 10,5 cm (6.3 x 4.1 inches) (edges slightly bumped, verso with light foxing, otherwise in a good condition).
The manuscript, which includes poems and other texts, was made by a German soldier Mathias Briem, stationed in Tsingtao, China, in the second half of 1904 and in 1905. The motifs are mostly connected to the army life, especially the life of the marines, their encounter with women, love in China, thoughts from long days and nights on the guard, homesickness, and historical events such as the destruction of the SMS Amazone. 

According to the notes the author of the text, Mathias Briem, left for the East on March 4, 1904. In a lengthy text he describes the voyage through Port Said, by Aden and Singapore, to China. They have passed Hainan on April 10, and travelled via Hongkong to Tsingtao, which they reached on April 19.  

The poems and texts give an insight on the private life of a German soldier in a foreign country, culturally different from his home town. The photographs show the author in his uniform in Asia.  

The last 13 pages of the manuscript were not filled until 1910 (in Singapore?). They include several notes, probably taken on a lecture.  

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Place and Year