“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

One Giant Neckties of Shanghai

Posted: July 20th, 2021 | No Comments »

One Giant Pure Silk Neckties ‘Made in Shanghai’ and from all good department stores (and old Shanghai had some good department stores back then). Their sales office was on Chunking Road (Chongqing North Road now) near the race course; not sure where their factory was (possibly there, but unlikely i feel). This ad from JB Powell’s China WEekly Review in 1947. Sadly it is a business that seems not to have survived the 1949 takeover or moved elsehwere. After 1949 i guess pure silk ties were rather frowned on!

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The Communist Conquest of Shanghai – Paolo Rossi

Posted: July 19th, 2021 | 1 Comment »

If anyone happens to know where i can get/borrow a copy of this without breaking the bank please do let me know? It was published, in English at least, in the 1970s. Paolo Rossi was the urbane and cosmopolitan Italian consul in Shanghai from 1948-1952 and witnessed the fall of the city first hand and includes a lot of useful detail….

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Royal Asiatic Society Shanghai Video Talks: French on Hutongs, Lovell on Monkey Kings; Matyas Mervay on The Raoul Wallenbergs of China & More being Added

Posted: July 16th, 2021 | No Comments »

In the first official video of the The Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai YouTube channel, Professor Julia Lovell, author of several books on China’s history and culture as well as a new translation of Journey to the West, summarises the story of China’s most famous fable ‘Journey to the West’ in 5 minutes. The video is an excerpt from Julia Lovell’s April 2021 presentation ‘The Return of the Monkey King?’ for Royal Asiatic Society (RAS) China.

Video: https://lnkd.in/gqtJ6vc

Channel: https://lnkd.in/gPzCYxw

Become an early adopter: follow the RAS China YouTube channel for the full talk and videos of several other events in 2020-21, and ones earlier as we keep uploading:
– One of “The Raoul Wallenbergs of China”, Paul Komor by Mátyás Mervay (appears on the channel later today);
– 200 years of Sino-US economic relations, full lecture with Prof Baizhu Chen (July 23)
– Expat authors in early 20th-century Peking hutongs with Paul French (July 30)
– The full talk on the new translation of ‘Journey to the West’ by Julia Lovell (early August).
– And more: stay tuned!

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The Hero Photo Studio, Nanking Road…

Posted: July 14th, 2021 | No Comments »

The Hero Photo Studio (who also did photo engraving) in 1947 was at Nanking Road West, previously Bubbling Well Road, and now Nanjing West Road, by the junction with Seymour Road (now Shaanxi Road North).

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The Summer Palace Restaurant, Shanghai, 1947

Posted: July 13th, 2021 | No Comments »

The Summer Palace ‘Pekinese’ style restaurant was, i believe, very popular with Shanghailanders and advertised in English at them quite consistently – it was quite close to a number of key Shanghailander and sojourner locations including the American YMCA. In 1947 the restaurant was on Yu Ya Ching Road, renamed Sitzang Road and now Xizang Road (just in the International Settlement side).

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Real Dictators at the British Podcast Awards 2021

Posted: July 12th, 2021 | No Comments »

Nice one – 2021 British Podcast Awards Best Arts & Culture podcast to Real Dictators from @Noiser_Podcasts (i’m sure my babbling about the DPRK pushed them over the line!)

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The Shing Hwang Gasl Lamp and Mantles Factory, Shanghai

Posted: July 9th, 2021 | No Comments »

Shing Hwang was a manufacturer of gas lamps and mantles in Shanghai ( i think a version of them still exists in Taiwan). This ad is from 1947 and so Shing Hwang ran their address as the old Rue Amiral Bayle in the French Concession, but the road names were changed and the Concession gone in 1943 and so Hwangpi Road South was also listed (now of course Huangpi Lu). Nice tilley lamps too if anyone’s got one??

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Jenny Lin’s Above Sea

Posted: July 8th, 2021 | No Comments »

I somehow missed Jenny Lin’s Above Sea when it first came out in 2018 but i’ve finally caught up. Lin has a great section on the emergence of modern art in Shanghai and its relationship to the haipai styles of the interwar republican era – the fusion of western and Chinese art styles, the impact on Shanghai artists exposed to Europoean art and studying abroad, the avant garde sense of the Storm Society. All this is fascinatingly used to critique the problematic Xintiandi development, that makes all sorts of claims about its nods to history and nostalgia without any real understanding. This siutation is, i imagine (as i haven’t been back to Shanghai recently due to the pandemic), accentuated by the glorification of the site of the First Congress of the CPC within Xintiandi’s confines. There are also interesting debates about more contemporary Shanghai and Chinese artists as well as the problems associated with the city’s bienalle. Highly recommended in other words.

Shanghai, long known as mainland China’s most cosmopolitan city, is today a global cultural capital. This book offers the first in-depth examination of contemporary Shanghai-based art and design – from state-sponsored exhibitions to fashionable cultural complexes to cutting edge films and installations. Informed by years of in-situ research, the book looks beyond contemporary art’s global hype to reveal the socio-political tensions accompanying Shanghai’s transitions from semi-colonial capitalism to Maoist socialism to Communist Party-sponsored capitalism. Case studies reveal how Shanghai’s global aesthetic constructs glamorising artifices that mask the conflicts between vying notions of foreign-influenced modernity and anti-colonialist nationalism, as well as the city’s repressed socialist past and its consumerist present.

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