30. January 2023
1920s Doan's Ointment advertisement (兜安氏皮膏病新篇) in Foster-McClellan's Chinese customer magazine. Illustration by 叔达. From the MOFBA museum.
A lovely and innocent Chinese girl in 1920s fashion, advertising a skin medication by Foster-McClellan in Shanghai. A check in the historic “List of American firms at Shanghai” by the US consul identifies the company as “importers of patent medicines”. What dark secrets could this fair facade possibly mask?
23. January 2023
A.S. Watson 1916 Chinese Calendar Poster Advertisement by Feng Runzhi. From the MOFBA collection.
Happy Chinese New Year! This rare A.S. Watsons advertisement from our collection not only has a peculiar design around the auspicious character 康 (health), but tells the origin story and evolution of the famous Chinese calendar posters which were in fact pioneered by Watsons in the 1880s together with a second British firm.
16. January 2023
Last week would have been László Hudec’s 130th birthday. In celebration of Shanghai’s most well-known architect, here is a beautiful commemorative advertising booklet from our collection about his Art Deco magnum opus: the Joint Savings Society Building, more famously known as the Park Hotel or “International Hotel” (国际饭店) in Chinese. The edifice, constructed between 1931 to 1934 at 164 Bubbling Well Road (today’s No.170 Nanjing West Road), was named after the Joint Savings...
09. January 2023
A tin advertising for Farbwerke vorm. Meister Lucius & Brüning depicting an imagined scene of a medieval German king meeting a Qing Dynasty emperor. From the MOFBA collection.
"Once upon a time, on a fair and wondrous day, the brave King of the Franks did journey to the fabled land of Cathay. Resplendent in his ermine-trimmed robes, he arrived at the Imperial Palace in the celestial city of Beijing. There, he was greeted with the utmost reverence by the Son of Heaven, the august Emperor of China, who was attired in his finest silks and adorned with glittering jewels. When the two monarchs took their seats of honor, a hush fell over the court, for all knew that this...
02. January 2023
1930s Honey Soap vintage Chinese advertising poster featuring Li Lili. From the MOFBA collection.
As gorgeous and innocent looking this “Honey Soap” advertising poster featuring Chinese actress Li Lili is, it actually tells the story of several dark episodes from China’s marketing and entertainment history.
25. December 2022
18. December 2022
The earliest form of football has actually been recognized by FIFA as the Chinese game of Cuju or Tsu' Chu (蹴鞠), dating back to the 3rd century BC. A competitive form of Cuju was already used then as fitness training for soldiers, while other forms were played for entertainment.
12. December 2022
J.S. Fry & Son's 1927 Chinese Calendar Poster Advertising. From the MOFBA collection
A sophisticated Old Shanghai lady relaxing with a bite of Fry’s chocolate at her country home. Her bamboo flute (or is it maybe an opium pipe?) close beside her. What in 1927 may have sounded like an intriguing value proposition for J.S. Fry & Son’s in the Middle Kingdom, turned out to be nothing but a pipe dream…. Joseph Fry from Bristol, England started making chocolate around 1759. After several changes of name and ownership, the business became J. S. Fry & Sons in 1822. In...
05. December 2022
A Shanghai Bakerite "Sullivan" Assorted Biscuits box. From the MOFBA collection.
The crumb trail of Bakerite leads us back to the American James David Sullivan, who after serving in the Spanish American War, came to China at the turn of the century and established the Denniston & Sullivan photo supplies store on Broadway (today’s Daming Rd.) in the Shanghai International Settlement. In June 1906 Sullivan sold the business to former employees Messrs. L.L. Hopkins and J.J. Gilmore who continued to operate it but moved it to Nanking Rd. (todays Nanjing East Rd.)
28. November 2022
1930s Christmas cards print advertising from the Tientsin Press Ltd. From the MOFBA collection.
A friendly reminder from the Tientsin Press Ltd. (天津印字馆): NOW is the time to order those Christmas cards you’ll want to send to your friends!

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