Advertising is known to use subliminal messaging, but this cloth banner advertisement from our collection, tells the incredible story of a brand that not only shaped fashion trends but allegedly paved the way for Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 with a secret code.
This beautiful mid-1920s Art Deco style advertisement sign for Allenburys tells the astonishing story of the once wealthiest foreign family of Old Shanghai. They were highly esteemed, with numerous schools, two streets, an office building, and even a coffee house named after them. Yet, their name has almost been forgotten, if it weren’t for the rare artefacts that sometimes still show up in the antique markets and the few remnants of their legacy strewn across the vanishing old city.
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?
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.
The iconic image of the most "Well known Sword Juggler in Shanghai City". On top the trained eye will notice a poster for Japanese brand “The Ikatsu” (胃活及人像). The gastrointestinal medicine brand was created in 1899 in Osaka by Shintendo Yamada Anmin Pharmacy - a precursor company of Japanese Rohto Pharmaceutical (ロート製薬), which exists to this day.
When British Lever Brothers launched Lifebuoy soap in 1894, it was with a mission to ‘make cleanliness commonplace’. This was important because in Victorian England infectious diseases were the number one cause of death. Lifebuoy came to the rescue with an effective antibacterial soap which was affordable and widely available. The company first entered China in 1911 when the newly created 'Lever Brothers China' - or LBC (利华肥皂有限公司) took over from treaty port agents the...
The International Dispensary (五洲大药房) was one of the most important drug and medical supply organizations in China. It was established 1907 in Shanghai as joint-venture by among others Mr. How Zai-Fong, who was also the founder of the Commercial Press and magnate Hwang Chu-Chiu (黄楚九 / Huang Chujiu), owner of the Great Eastern Dispensary (中法大药房).