During the Qing Dynasty, a man born in China was named the tallest man on earth. Said to be over 10 feet tall, Zhan Shichai has a striking resemblance to basketball player Yao Ming. Whatever the case, Zhan Shichai did enjoy fame during his lifetime. He was featured in British newspapers and appeared on British stamps.
According to the County Journal of Wuyuan, Zhan was born on December 20, 1841 in Wuyuan County of Anhui Province in China. He was nicknamed “Yuxuan,” and was recorded as the tallest man on earth in historical data. He was reported to be 3.19 meters in height (approximately 10.5 feet), taller than the Guinness World Records holder, an American woman named Sandy Allen, by almost three feet.
As a young man, Zhan Shichai worked in an ink factory in Shanghai. He was later recruited by an American circus to tour around the world. He made money simply by taking photos with people. Eventually, he landed in the United Kingdom, married a British woman, and lived out his life there.
British newspapers ran an article on Zhan, naming him “the greatest Chinese giant,” and his portrait was made into stamps.
Zhan Shichai’s height was inherited. The County Journal of Wuyuan reported that Zhan’s father, Zhan Zhenzhong, was 8 feet tall and had two wives. Zhan was the fourth child by the second wife.
Translated by Cecilia