Pictures from a colorful golden age
Updated: 2014-09-12 08:35
By Yu Ran(Shanghai Star)
Photographs of Shanghai in the 1930s show a city where East and West met, danced and did business. Yu Ran chats to cultural critic Wu Liang about these images from a lost era.
Photos taken in the 1930s and passed down through generations, present a colorful view of life in Shanghai's golden age. Shanghai Star invites Wu Liang, a cultural critic whose book, Old Shanghai — a Lost Age, examines the era, to share his collection of black and white photographs.
"I was attracted by the images of the city where I was born and grew up when I was invited to write the book," Wu says. "They are filled with memories."
A bird's-eye view
Shanghai in the 1930s was a center of trade, with foreign trade happening in the concessions and the Bund and internal trade at Shiliupu port. The city's good environment for investment made it one of the most important business hubs in China and the Far East.
The name "The Bund" was derived from an Anglo-Indian term that literally means "a muddy embankment." At the beginning of the 19th century, the area was a mere shallow waterfront covered with reeds.
Located along the Huangpu River, the Bund shows off Shanghai's outstanding foreign-influenced buildings, most of which were erected before 1937. The Bund was China's Wall Street. In the 1930s, the buildings, featuring a variety of architectural styles from different countries, housed the world's greatest banks, foreign embassies and branches of foreign trading enterprises making the city a financial and commercial hub.