c.1901 Queen's Road East
What: The two banners are very eye-catching:
They're advertising the services of a couple of tattoers, HORI and MORRI. The design on each is very similar. Is it a dragon and a phoenix?
From their names and designs, they're Japanese, something stated more clearly further along the road by one of their competitors:
"Professional tattooer from Japan"
Who: Apart from the tattoers, the signs show some of the other people working here. For the foreign market there are a couple of cobblers making boots and shoes:
And a compradore / grocer:
Nothing very exciting there! How about the Chinese signs? If you can read them, are there any interesting businesses?
Where: The title of the photo is "China-town. Wan-tsai", so somewhere in Wanchai. The Compradore's sign gives us the street name, Queen's Road East, but I can't make out the street number:
So which section of Queen's Road East are we looking at?
There was a famous Japanese store, Daibutsu, at the western end of the Queen's Road East on the corner with Arsenal Street. Here's a photo of it, with Queen's Road East stretching off into the distance, and Arsenal Street leading off to the left:
Shop owners of the same nationality often cluster together, so the tattoers' shops could well have been near here.
It would also make sense for them to be as far west as possible, to be close to their potential customers. Just beyond Arsenal Street were the British Army's Victoria Barracks, and the "Naval Department Buildings", shown in another photo from this collection . I wonder how many soldiers and sailors returned to the UK sporting a tattoo from Hori or Morri?
One more clue to the location is the building in the distance of the original photo:
It is quite different from the shophouses in the foreground. Does anyone recognise it?
When: This photo is one of set taken by R C Hurley  around 1901-1902. He published them as a collection titled "Views of Hong Kong".
If you can see anything else of interest in this photo, please let us know in the comments below.
Thank you to Janet Hayes, who kindly donated this photo.
Photo reference: NDA23
Trivia: Tattoer to royalty!
I didn't find any mention of Hori or Morri in the local newspapers, but D Noma was a regular advertiser, claiming to have tattooed both the Duke of York and the Emperor of Russia!
Also on Gwulo.com this week: