Shanghai manhua [Shanghai Sketch].

ZHANG Guangyu editor (1930.)

£2000.00  [First Edition]

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First edition. Issues 39, 81, 83, 88. 4 loose issues. Folio, each issue measuring 27x39cm. Original colour lithographed wrappers, a few tears, wear and light staining, brittle due to poor paper quality, disbound, but overall still in good condition. 8pp. each. Shanghai, Shanghai manhua she/Zhongguo meishu kanxing she [China Fine Arts Periodicals], 1929-

Shanghai manhua was born out of the ideas of a group of graphic artists who had formed the Shanghai Sketch Society in 1927. They were Ye Qianyu (1907-1995), Zhang Guangyu (1900-1964) and his brother Zhang Zhenyu (1904-1970), Huang Wennong (1901?-1934), Lu Shaofei (1903-1995), as well as Ding Song (1891-1969) and Wang Dunqing (1889-1990). A first single-page broadside was issued in January 1928 but many newsagents discarded it and consequently it failed to attract buyers. The entire run had to be sold to a scrap merchant. In a second attempt the magazine was re-launched on April 21st, 1928 in a more substantial format: It was issued weekly and the double-sided broadsheet ran to eight pages with a colour cover. It was the first fully-fledged modern Chinese magazine to feature a rich mix of caricatures, fashion, literature and social affairs. There is also a strong emphasis on the arts, incl. sculpture, painting, photography, film, dance and theatre. Artistic credentials allowed Shanghai manhua to bypass censorship rules and show some nude photographs. The modern Chinese woman is portrayed as a liberated powerful force ensnarling men in dangerous liaisons. Most of the magazine relates to Shanghai but there are also references to Peking and the rest of the world. Much of it is a product of the newfound wealth amongst some members of the Chinese community often going hand in hand with Westernisation. This magazine is less political and provocative than the 'Modern Sketch' issued by the same group of people four years later, but it is the voice of a new, confident, liberal, urban Chinese community. On the back cover Ye Qianyu contributed the hugely popular comic-strip "Mr. Wang" (Wang xiansheng) which was influenced by the American strip "Bringing up Father" by George McManus. 

Lu Shaofei contributed much of the writing: For example, in each issue he gave an interpretation of the cover-art on the preceding issue. The magazine was financed by the wealthy avant-garde poet and socialite Shao Xunmei (1906-1968) who tried to revive his family fortunes and in the summer of 1930 purchased a German rotogravure press for the amount of $50,000 to improve the quality of the photographic reproductions. It was a major investment and after the 110th issue 'Shanghai Sketch' merged with another of his publications, the 'Modern Miscellany' (shidai huabao) on June 16th 1930 in order to reduce cost. Exceedingly rare. 

Stock Code: 246711

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