University of Bristol - Historical Photographs of China reference number: Pe01-069. The long fingernails signify high class and that the man did not do manual or humble work with his hands. Mandarins would sometimes wear long finger-guards of bamboo or silver to protect their long fingernails when writing or eating. See Fr01-047, Pe01-071 and JC-s004.
A man with long fingernails and finger guards on his left hand
Black and white photograph