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Thread: Art Deco Shanghai Reborn

  1. #11
    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    Shanghai Shuffle - 1924 - Gene Rodermich and His Orchestra:



    From Here to Shanghai - 1917 - Irving Berlin (Roll performed by Peter Wendling, 1917):



    These songs capture the vibrance and mistique in which Shanghai was held in the 20s at the start of the Art Deco Era. All things Chinese became very popular during the Roaring Twenties. Mahjong, Chinese-style architecture and colours, visiting Shanghai...everything. Mahjong was such a 20s fad that shops were regularly selling-out sets faster than they could get them delivered.

    The lyrics of "From Here to Shanghai" show the views that Westerners held for the Far East at the time. Ideas of tea and chopsticks, bamboo furniture and Shanghai of being some far-away (as it was - two months by ship from Europe) city full of wonder. The song also mentions pigtails, which unknown to Westerners at the time, are not actually Chinese.

    The song also mentions a long-forgotten celebrity - Chinese magician Ching Ling Foo (1854-1922). He was one of the first Chinese celebrities to be widely known in the West. He toured the United States in 1898, causing a sensation.

    The pigtail is actually Mongolian. When the Mongols or 'Manchus' invaded China in the 1600s and established the last of the imperial dynasties (the 'Qing' Dynasty), they forced all the men to wear pigtails as a sign of subservience.

    When the Republic was declared in the 1910s and the last emperor (PuYi) was forced to abdicate ca. 1912, a lot of Chinese men went around cutting off their pigtails as a sign of protest against Imperialism and the birth of a new, democratic and republican China, influenced by Western politics.

  2. #12
    Call Me a Cab Blackthorn's Avatar
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    And this is what it looked like last year, such contrasts of wealth and poverty:






    So a health to the man on the trail this night; may his grub hold out; may his dogs keep their legs; may his matches never miss fire....Jack London

  3. #13
    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    You find that in all major cities. Shanghai in the 20s and 30s was no different. That first photo is beautiful. So is the last one. Not sure about the others, though. They look a bit depressing.

  4. #14
    Call Me a Cab Blackthorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shangas View Post
    You find that in all major cities. Shanghai in the 20s and 30s was no different. That first photo is beautiful. So is the last one. Not sure about the others, though. They look a bit depressing.
    Reality can be that way. It's just life...
    So a health to the man on the trail this night; may his grub hold out; may his dogs keep their legs; may his matches never miss fire....Jack London

  5. #15
    One of the Regulars Godfrey's Avatar
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    My Grandfather spent a bit of time in Shanghai in the thirties. Given he was a ships stoker and his stories of Marseille, India, Egypt, etc I expect he experienced all Shanghai had to offer - and then some. He went back in the early 1990's and was disappointed to see so much changed - a couple of revolutions will do that to a town!
    "Cock your hat - angles are attitudes." -Frank Sinatra

  6. #16
    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    Like almost everywhere in China, Shanghai would've been heavily affected by the Chinese Civil War. From the 1920s until 1949, that's a long time to be fighting. As much as they liked to kid themselves, the Nationalists (who ran the country from the abolishment of the Monarchy in 1912, until the end of the Civil War in 1949) couldn't win. China was sitting on a time-bomb for over thirty years.

    And then the Cultural Revolution (1967-1977) wreaked even more (and in my opinion, unnecessary and wasteful) havoc on Chinese culture, history and people. My Chinese teacher in school, Mr. Liu, lived through the Cultural Revolution (his father was arrested and chucked in jail). He always looked back on that period in his country's history with a LOT of hatred. In history class, he came in to give us a lecture about the revolution (we were studying Chinese history in history class at the time). I remember his opening words were:

    "Today, I'm going to give you a talk about the 'so-called' Great Poletariat Cultural Revolution".

    He NEVER just called it the 'Cultural Revolution'. 'So-called' would always precede it, he hated it that much.

    When the Civil War ended, Western residency in Shanghai was a thing of the past. Most of them had fled Shanghai when the Settlement was invaded in '41. Those who didn't, and who survived the war, would've fled between '45-'49. They didn't want to stay in a Communist China. And at any rate, they weren't welcome.

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