Photographer Jeremiah Gilbert is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. To see Jeremiah’s portfolio click on any image.
Shikumen is a traditional Shanghainese architectural style combining Western and Chinese elements that first appeared in the 1860s. At the height of their popularity, there were over 9000 shikumen-style buildings in Shanghai, comprising 60% of the total housing stock of the city, though today the proportion is much lower as most Shanghainese live in large apartment buildings.
The Shikumen Open House Museum, where these photos were taken, presents an idea of what life was like for an upper-middle class Chinese family living in Shanghai in the 1920s and ’30s. The museum consists of rooms furnished with authentic antiques, along with the trappings of family life—clothes neatly hung on hooks, newspapers spread on a desk, and family photos on the walls.
By Jeremiah Gilbert