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Portrayals of Women in Early Twentieth-Century China

Redefining Female Identity through Modern Design and Lifestyle

164 pages
Amsterdam University Press
Portrayals of Women in Early Twentieth-Century China explores the role played by woman, and their visual representations, in introducing modern design and modern ways of living to China. It investigates this through an analysis of how women and modern design were represented in the advertisements, photographs, and films of Republican-era China. This study explores the intersection of modernity and the Chinese woman, as they negotiated their changing identities through, and with, new designs that proliferated in Chinese households in the first half of the twentieth century. The advertisements, mass media, photographs and films took on the function of social conditioning, conveying to the viewers ideas of modern social standards, behavior and appearances. With women both instrumentalised within these images, and addressed through them, their visual representations became metaphors that fashioned a new portrait of China, while concurrently impacting on the identity, agency and subjectivity of women themselves.
Author Bio
Sandy Ng received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). She teaches design history and theory in the School of Design of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research examines how hybrid modernity and gender issues shape artistic representation and design.