New online exhibition of vintage Chinese comic book covers

April 29, 2021
Joshua Capitanio
Shang da xue

The East Asia Library has published a new exhibition of vintage Chinese comic book (lianhuanhua 连环画) covers.

Curated by Chinese Studies Librarian Zhaohui Xue, the exhibition showcases the covers of various comic books held in the collections of the East Asia Library. Comics such as these were popular in the early and mid-twentieth century, particularly after 1949 when they were used to spread Communist ideology and support various political campaigns. 

The East Asia Library holds over 450 examples of such comic books in its Special Collections. Most were produced between the 1950s and 1970s, a period that includes the Cultural Revolution. They are valuable sources for research on political propaganda, visual art, and the history of modern China.

Because of their political nature, some images in the exhibition may include violent and disturbing imagery. Viewer discretion is advised.

The exhibition is hosted on Stanford's Spotlight exhibit platform and may be viewed here: 
Chinese comic books (lianhuanhua) at Stanford

Image: Guo Kai, et al., Shang da xue 上大学 (1974)