Posts tagged with "tobacco"



23. February 2024
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.
10. February 2024
Happy Chinese New Year 2024 from the MOFBA & Pirate Cigarettes!
04. October 2023
British American Tobacco (BAT) branded promotional mirror for "Pirate" cigarettes in China. From the MOFBA collection
Pirate was one of the first Western cigarette brands introduced to China in the late 19th century and was also one of the longest-lasting. More on its history in our previous article here.
12. September 2023
Late 1930s postcard from a series on Manchurian Life titled "Advertisement Painting". From the MOFBA collection.
This 1930s postcard from our collection reminds us of the lost profession of billboard painter, signwriter or “wall dogs” as its practitioners were often colloquially called. Commercial advertising has a long history in China and in the West but as an industry only emerged several centuries after the invention of Woodblock printing in China in the 9th century, and of the printing press by Gutenberg in around 1436. These technologies eventually allowed for the mass production of flyers,...
08. July 2023
1928 Chinese calendar poster for Beacon (海燈牌) cigarettes from A. Lopato & Sons (老巴奪父子) in Harbin. It wishes a Happy New Year (恭贺新禧), was illustrated by famous artist Xiezhiguang (谢之光) and printed by the Commercial Press. From the MOFBA collection.
This intriguing 1928 calendar poster, advertising the „Beacon” cigarette brand, was not only created by the most versatile Chinese commercial artist of the 20th century, but also leads us to explore the story of the first and largest foreign-founded tobacco manufacturer in China.
24. April 2023
1933 Chinese print advertisement for Major Drapkin's Federal cigarettes. From the MOFBA collection.
This stunningly illustrated 1933 advertisement for Federal cigarettes from our collection tells the history of the British company Major Drapkin, which was one of the last foreign companies to ever advertise in Republican China. Major Drapkin & Co was a tobacco manufacturer founded in England in 1898. Its best-selling brand was The Grey’s, named after the Royal Scots Greys cavalry regiment of the British Army. The company eventually became part of the United Kingdom Tobacco Co which got...
10. April 2023
 A rare 1917 Chinese calendar poster advertisement for State Express 555 cigarettes. From the MOFBA collection.
This exceptionally rare 1917 calendar poster for State Express 555 cigarettes from our collection, tells the unlikely story of a Western brand that, with one simple trick, became a top-seller in China and was even endorsed by the country’s most notorious “influencer” … State Express were luxury cigarettes manufactured in the United Kingdom by the Ardath Tobacco Company. The brand was founded in London in 1896 by tobacco merchant Sir Albert Levy (1864–1937).
06. February 2023
Just what the doctor ordered: 1930s Vitamin Cigarettes by Taifon Tobacco Co. Ltd. - "Second to None". From the MOFBA collection.
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.
07. November 2022
In November 2022 the Chinese government issued new regulations for celebrity related advertising. Among others the updated rules prohibit celebrity endorsements of medicines, off-campus education and – finally - tobacco. What sounds fairly reasonable for today’s standards actually took the authorities over a century to crack down on: the practice of Chinese singers and movie stars unscrupulously peddling cigarettes goes back to the early 20th century and, as we will see, sometimes even with...

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