燕都商榜圖 The Shop Signs of Peking

What can you buy on the streets of Beijing in the 1930s? This book will tell you.

Yan du shang bang tu 燕都商榜圖 aka The Shop Signs of Peking, published in 1931 by Chinese Painting Association, contains 100 shop signs in Beijing. The book is limited to 100 copies. Harvard-Yenching Library is fortunate enough to have one copy in its collection, as the author H. K. Fung writes in the preface that, “The only explanation that I can give for the existence of these pictorial signs is that in the former times the percentage of illiteracy among the people was very low. I am sure with the establishment of the new public school system that most of the Chinese people can read the written language of the country. Therefore it is plain to see that these signs will gradually disappear as they are no longer necessary. Eventually they will become nothing but relics of the ancient Chinese Customs. So it is very advisable for those who are interested in things Chinese to add a copy of this album to their collection in Orientalia.”

The book can be read in Harvard-Yenching Rare Book room. You can find it at http://lms01.harvard.edu/F/1A1J5VTIPP8ASN84J32PJIFS1A26MU9X7KNKBMSM9C7ETK22H8-06446?func=find-b&find_code=WRD&request=%E7%87%95%E9%83%BD%E5%95%86%E6%A6%9C%E5%9C%96&adjacent=1

 

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