Mei Lanfang was known as the "Queen of Peking Opera" and in the 1930s became China’s first global superstar. The acclaimed male performer, famous for female lead roles, toured the world & even had his own cigarette brand as we can learn from this artefact in our collection.
The bottle indicates that it was a private label product created for the Danish trading firm Jebsen & Co. (捷成洋行), which is one of the few old China trading firms, so called “Hongs”, that is still active today. More on the company in our previous blog post here.
This exquisite chocolate box from our collection unveils the exceptional history of Russian-Jewish immigrants who from the 1920s to 1940s, built a vast chocolate production empire, spanning across four factories in four Chinese cities and operating seven outlet stores.
Do Chinese people eat cornflakes for breakfast? It turns out, it is as difficult to chew on this question today, as it was in the 1920s. Discover the century-long struggle of Kellogg's in cracking the Chinese market and where the company and its former partners stand today.
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.
A stunning illustration on this vintage box by the Chinese “Healthy” Pure Silk Hosiery brand (健美牌). The voyeuristic perspective and dramatic interaction of light and shadow is reminiscent of American realist painter Edward Hoppers art. Even more intriguingly though, the lady’s thin long eyebrows and her short hairstyle with romantic waves undoubtedly dates the image to the 1930s, while the low-key black and white setting in an inner-city apartment with Venetian blinds is much more...
Pinhead was the first US American cigarette brand introduced in China. Its manufacturer was W. Duke, Sons & Co founded in 1871 by Washington Duke in Durham, North Carolina. As early as June 1882 W. Duke and Sons sent their salesman Richard H. Wright on a nineteen-month tour around the world to place their company’s tobacco in key export centers and its products may have already reached China by then.
A 1930s Agfa Film Wallet in art-deco design by Mackenzie Sports Co. Shanghai. Mackenzie Sports was a mid-1930s sports store in Shanghai, offering a wide range of sports equipment such as for tennis and boxing, and seemingly also offered photo development services. The shop was owned by R. Nymphius, an active tennis player in the local leagues of the time himself.