Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

Categories: Asia | Celebrities | History

It is generally accepted that the Chinese are not very tall people. This is basically true - the average height of men in the Middle Kingdom is 165 cm, and women even less. But there are exceptions to any rule, and this was proven by Zhang Shichai, nicknamed the “Chinese Giant”. He was and remains the tallest resident of China, whose height was officially established and recorded in documents.

Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

Zhang Shichai was born on December 20, 1841 in Hong Guan Village, Wuyuan County, Jiangxi Province. It became clear that this was a special child soon after birth. At 6 months the boy weighed as much as a 6-year-old child, and at 2 years his mother had to explain to people why such an adult boy was asking for the breast.

Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

Zhang Shichai's family was poor, so he had to work hard from an early age. At the age of 25, he was noticed by the British at an ink factory in Shanghai, where the guy was loading finished products. They offered the man a career as a circus performer, with a good salary and the opportunity to see the world. Shichai agreed and signed the contract. His height at that time was 2.48 meters.

Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

After leaving his homeland, the life of the “Chinese Giant” changed radically. He visited many countries, learned 10 languages and even married a girl from Liverpool named Catherine Santley. She bore her husband three children. Shichai completely adapted to European life. He changed his hairstyle and wore a suit and bowler hat. The man wore national clothes and a wig with a traditional Chinese braid only before his performances in circus shows.

Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

In 1878, Zhang Shichai decided to leave his career as an artist. He had enough money to open his own business and no longer perform in the circus. The man's family moved to the British city of Bournemouth and opened the Oriental Bazaar tea store. Zhang later expanded the trade and added a department of antiques and Chinese silk fabrics.

Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

In his declining years, the “Chinese Giant” led an unremarkable life and was engaged in trade and raising his grandchildren. The tallest Chinese man died in 1893 from a heart attack, outliving his wife Catherine by only 4 months. Many photographs of Shichai have survived to this day, which have interested scientists. After studying the pictures and his family history, they decided that the man's phenomenal growth was not the result of any illness, as is often the case.

Zhang Shichai is the tallest Chinese man in history

It turned out that tall men were not unusual in Zhang Shichai's family. His father and brothers, although significantly shorter than him, were still about 2 meters tall. This is a rarity for China, and the family’s house in the village was called the “Home of Giants” for its high ceilings and non-standard doorways.

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