Vintage Chinese Advertising From The 1920-30s Republican Era

Republican Era Chinese Advertising Posters.

Despite an era marked by persistent war and disorder, the Republican period in Chinese history witnessed a remarkable boom spanning industry, commerce, and culture. From the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Shanghai to the rapid industrialization of Manchuria under Japanese occupation, 1930s China was a shining contrast to the rest of the world going through the Great Depression.

Through the portrayal of women and from the obvious Western influences, these advertising posters below reflected this uncertain period of openness and prosperity on the eve of impending war.  Perhaps from these vintage posters, we can be reminded of a once thriving face of China that is not much different from today.

Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Company

Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Company

Japanese-Manchurian Flour Milling Company

Japanese-Manchurian Flour Milling Company

Harbin North Manchurian Tobacco Company

Harbin North Manchurian Tobacco Company

Shanghai Huiming Flashlight Company

Shanghai Huiming Flashlight Company

Hangchow Wanyuen Silk Bureau

Hangchow Wanyuen Silk Bureau

The Wing On Company Discount Advertising

The Wing On Company Discount Advertising

Advertisement for Dragon Foot Powder Medicine

Advertisement for Dragon Foot Powder Medicine

Shanghai Xu Shengji Printing Factory Advertisement

Shanghai Xu Shengji Printing Factory Advertisement

China Fuchang Tobacco Factory

China Fuchang Tobacco Factory

Victoria Soap

Victoria Soap

Sunlight Soap

Sunlight Soap

Kwong Sang Hong Ltd.

Kwong Sang Hong Ltd.

Source: Photographs are from Zhang Jibo’s blog on Sina, of 1920s-1930s Chinese advertising posters displayed at the Guan Shanyu Art Museum in Shenzhen.

Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • Just another proof why the Cultural Revolution screws up the Chinese race…

    • meidaxia

      Wasn’t even the cultural revolution that did that, the communists despised Shanghai’s booming capitalist economy such that is has only recently recovered since gaigekaifang.

  • ling

    Some of these models are actually men cross-dressing as women. Because in early 1900s, respectable Chinese girls refused to let their images plastered everywhere.
    Of course, later the society becomes more open and you actually see socialites on magazine covers.

  • mistyken

    i don’t see any relationship between a portrait of huamulan, who is supposed to be a female general who served in place of his old father, and the flash light…
    seems to me that they just put up some attractive female pictures on whatever they were trying to advertise and that’s it.
    still, it’s pretty interesting to see how much the beauty standard in china in the time span of 2 decades. if u look at portraits of attractive females from the late qin dynasty, they look very different.

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»