A black-and-white photograph showing two Chinese farmers in a field. Agriculture has always been one of the main activities in China. As late as 1949, 90 percent of the population were farmers, most of them engaged in agriculture or weaving. During the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), farming saw no major technological and technical advances. However, during this period, there were two important changes that enabled Chinese agriculture to make progress in limited areas. The first was the increase in cultivated area, and the second was the expansion of practices such as crop rotation and parallel sowing of multiple crops, as well as new systems of irrigation, fertilisation, and labour organisation.
The photograph is the 129th of 449 photographs of Beijing and its surroundings in the album of Ivan Skušek Jr., purchased during his stay in Beijing (1914–1920). In the handwritten inventory of the album, the photograph is referred to as Chin. Bauern beim Pflügen. (DZ, MV)