(Excerpt from 'Lost art lens on old Shanghai' posted on China.org.cn, Apr. 2011. Found on http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2011-04/01/content_22273826.htm)
A truly rare collector's item, handmade woodblock prints exhibition is on at Baoshan District Folk Art Museum through the end of April.
Chinese Lunar New Year's pictures - a must for almost every home - are mass produced today and typically feature gods, countryside scenes and auspicious symbols.
But for only three decades in the early 1900s, Shanghai turned out unique and colorful handmade woodblock prints that showed locomotives, telephones, night clubs, circus performers, Westerners drinking coffee and aspects of modern life never seen in traditional art.
They were delightful in their verve, humor and detail: A shrewish Shanghai woman scolds her sheepish husband, Chinese women get their hair permed, Chinese women in qipao and men in Western clothes dance in a ballroom; Westerns pray in church and stroll along tree-lined streets in the French concession; Chinese play mahjong; there are rickshaws, sedan chairs and horse-drawn carriages in traffic jams.
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(Image:Grand Circus; Courtesy China.org.cn)