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

A Cigarette Card View of Tientsin

Posted: January 22nd, 2019 | No Comments »

Ogden’s ( a Liverpool tobacco firm) original collectable cigarette cards were collected by million of people – the fag firms used them to stiffen the packs and advertise their brands simultaneously. Here, as part of a set showing views of various cities around the world is Tientsin (Tianjin)….

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A Small Story about a copy of Ananda Coomaraswamy’s Fourteen Dances of Shiva…

Posted: January 21st, 2019 | No Comments »

In the London Library I came across a copy of the Sri Lankan Tamil philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy’s book Fourteen Dances of Shiva, published in 1918. This is an interesting copy to find in London as it was published by The Sunwise Turn Company of New York and contains, as you can see below, their stamp.

However the book was then sent to their London agents, Luzac & Co. of Great Russell Street (in Bloomsbury). The Sunwise Turn bookshop and publishing house was run by Mary Mowbray-Clarke in the nineteen-teens and twenties and was a hotbed for modern art, ideas and anarchy. Luzacs & Co were near the British Museum and specialised in importing books from foeign publishers and books on matter Oriental as well as selling the odd antiquity or two. They clearly sold the book to the London Library.

101 years later I borrowed it…

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Gertrude Stein, Archibald Craig & a Chinese Parasol, 1928

Posted: January 18th, 2019 | No Comments »

An addition to my occasional series of various people with Chinese parasols. Here Gertrude Stein with the ‘modern poet’ Archibald Craig at Stein’s summer retirement home at Belley, eastern France in 1928…

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Kwangchow-wan at the 1906 Exposition Coloniale, Marseille

Posted: January 17th, 2019 | No Comments »

I’ve always been interested in the oft-forgotten French treaty port of Kwangchow-wan (now Guangzhouwan) in Guangdong province. It wasn’t very large and was never home to more than 200,000 people but did have a sort of capital – Fort Bayard and some French institutions – the Governor’s house, some catholic missionaires, a Sino-French school etc. Japan occupied the territory in 1943 as part of its wider takeover of all French Indo-China.

What recently interested me was discovering that Kwangchow-wan had a pavilion at the 1906 Exposition Coloniale in Marseille.

The Kwangchow-wan pavilion (below) was close to the other pavilions of Indo-China – Laos, Cambodia, etc…Compared to the other exhibits Kwangshow-wan’s was quite small…but still in attendance. Today the city – either as Kwangchow-wan or Guangzhouwan is pretty much forgotten – a backwater now as its was then.

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Hello Gold Mountain – A Musical Celebration of Shanghai’s Jewish Refugees…

Posted: January 16th, 2019 | No Comments »

Tickets now available for world premier of Hello Gold Mountain, an original composition by Wu Fei for chamber orchestra, inspired by real stories of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai from Europe before and during World War II.

HELLO GOLD MOUNTAIN is an original composition by Wu Fei for chamber orchestra, performed by chatterbird ensemble, featuring Wu Fei on guzheng and Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (Silk Road Ensemble) on oud — the traditional Chinese and Jewish plucked string instruments respectively.

The work is inspired by real stories of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai from Europe before and during World War II, and built lives in China.

Visit our website, Hello Gold Mountain, to learn more about the project.

Purchase a Preferred Ticket to receive seating in a reserved seating area, as well as access to a pre-concert cocktail hour with one free beverage (beer or wine).

The premiere of Hello Gold Mountain is made possible by the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support for the project comes from the Danielle Rose Paikin Foundation and the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Arts Build Communities grant.

Date and Time

Sat, February 23, 2019

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST

Location

Ingram Hall

Children’s Way

Nashville, TN 37212

United States

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Holidays to China in 1980

Posted: January 15th, 2019 | No Comments »

ITS Travel was running ads for all manner of holidays to China in 1980…

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A Little More Chinoiserie – this time Foundation Maeght in Vance, France

Posted: January 13th, 2019 | No Comments »

It’s hard not to see a little Chinese influence in Josep Lluis Sert’s 1950 design for the Foundation Maeght’s gallery in the south of France…

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How Chinese bandits’ kidnapping of a blond British bride and her pet dogs became a global news story….a South China Morning Post Long Read from me…

Posted: January 11th, 2019 | No Comments »

My Long Read in the SCMP Magazine last weekend on Mrs. “Tinko” Pawley, her friend Charlie Corkran, & her dog Squishy – how they were captured by Bandits in 1932 Yingkou, captured the world’s imagination & survived a rather surreal kidnapping experience…click here…https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/2180648/how-chinese-bandits-kidnapping-blond-british

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