The Calendar Girls of the 1930s


Today these calendars are hard to find. Those you see in the antique shops of Shanghai are mostly imitations. They feature attractive  young models advertising everything from cigarettes to fabrics. They used to hang on the walls of every household in China and some even found their way to homes in Southeast Asian towns and cities. Most of these calendar art was created by art studio in Shanghai. In recent years, there has been an  increasing interest in these commercial art. Books have been published and studies made to trace their origin, development, and ultimate  demise.

This “Miss Happiness” calendar ad was produced by the Hang Xuying Studio in Shanghai in the 1930s. The model is made to look taller than she actually is.

In the other calendar ad, the model poses with a dog. It must be the fashion. Body curves are now emphasized.


The third picture advertises a brand of battery. What does a pretty girl have to do with a battery? It does not matter. Then and now, an attractive young model can sell anything.



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