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Shanghai Races - statues outside the race club

Shanghai Races - statues outside the race club


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Shanghai Races - statues outside the race club

Chinese racegoers lighting candles and burning incense in front of statues of the patron saints of the Hwa Hewi (Flower Society) outside the stables of Shanghai race club in hope their offerings will bring them luck at the races.
1939

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Media ID 23265032

© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans

Burn Candles Good Horseracing Incense Jun19 Luck Offering Offerings Patron Racegoers Races Saints Shanghai Spectator Statues


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EDITORS COMMENTS
This evocative photograph captures the unique tradition and cultural richness of horse racing in Shanghai during the 1930s. The image shows a group of Chinese racegoers gathered outside the Shanghai Race Club, paying homage to the patron saints of the Hwa Hewi, or Flower Society, by lighting candles and burning incense in front of the statues. The statues, adorned with colorful flowers and decorations, are a testament to the deep-rooted belief that these divine figures will bring good fortune and luck to the racetrack. The atmosphere is one of anticipation and excitement, as the racegoers prepare for the upcoming races. The spectators, dressed in their finest attire, are a vibrant contrast against the backdrop of the dimly lit statues and the shadows cast by the flickering candles. The air is thick with the sweet scent of burning incense and the hushed whispers of prayers, adding to the sense of reverence and hope. This tradition, deeply rooted in Chinese culture, reflects the strong connection between the people and their belief in the power of the divine to influence the outcome of the races. The Shanghai Race Club, a symbol of modernity and Western influence, became a unique melting pot of cultures, where the ancient and the modern coexisted, and traditions like this one continued to thrive. The photograph, taken in June 1939, offers a glimpse into a bygone era, where the thrill of horse racing brought people together, transcending cultural and social boundaries, and where the power of belief and tradition held a strong influence over the human spirit.

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