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Chinese Serial-picture Storybook: A Case Study of Zhao Hongben

  • Author / Creator
    Tian, Nuohang
  • This thesis is a comparative study toward lianhuanhua 连环画, or serial-picture storybook, applying two works by a Shanghai-based lianhuanhua painter, Zhao Hongben. The chosen lianhuanhua by Zhao Hongben were completed in different historical periods: The Republican era (1939) and the post-1949 era (1962). Chinese lianhuanhua industry changed significantly regarding the training, publication, and distribution system after founding the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Practitioners like Zhao Hongben within the industry correspondingly underwent the identity transition from the commercial lianhuanhua painter to the cultural worker employed by the communist regime. Along with the vastly altered industry, lianhuanhua itself is transformed from a commercial visual media popular in Republican Shanghai to a form of socialist visual art governed by the new cultural policies/doctrine after 1949. These alternations ultimately shaped/reshaped the visual characterizations and formal style of Zhao Hongben’s pre-and post-1949 lianhuanhua shown in the thesis, which evidently reflect the different expectations and ambitions placed upon lianhuanhua in respective historical periods. This paper raises an alternative perspective in understanding the widely accepted statement in the Chinese academia that post-1949 lianhuanhua are aesthetically and ideologically better than their Republican counterparts. The hierarchical perception to assert the superiority of post-1949 lianhuanhua overlooks the changed standard of defining a good lianhuanhua in the respective period as well as the role Republican lianhuanhua played during the development of the genre. Through comparing the given aspects of two works by the same author, a more dialectical and panoramic discussion will be cast in this paper to unveil the differentiations and connections between pre-and post-1949 lianhuanhua.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-7tvx-hx48
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.