Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Ling Long Girls.

The word ‘ling long’ (elegant and fine) originates from the Ming dynasty.  With the publication of Ling long, the women’s magazine published in Shanghai, China from 1931-1937, the long held definition was transformed to indicate modern female style.

Ling long was a pocket-sized publication for the modern young women of the era, every budding young woman and female student had one in their possession.  While the ‘new woman’ was emerging around the world, this was also occurring in China, especially the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai.   Women were pursing education and sophistication while harnessing their sex appeal and chasing the latest fashion trends.  Much of the magazine’s content was focused on remarkable modern women, dating advice, hobbies, fashion trends, beauty secrets, movie stars, and advertisements of mostly western products.

Differentiating the Ling long girls from their international feminine cohorts was their Chinese culture and loyalty.  Resulting from this mixture of perspectives, Ling long was full of contradictions.  One article might encourage its young readers to never submit to marriage, followed by another providing instructions on how to be a good housewife.  Despite the wavering tone, the virtues of a modern woman were encouraged throughout.  According to Ling long, the modern woman’s appearance and essence were her definitive qualities.  Her outward appearance should be contemporary, but not overly extravagant.  Trumping looks, her brain and spirit where of the utmost importance.  She must never become a ‘flower vase,’ a colloquial term for women who assume the role of a decorative object.  This message to the young women of China in the 1930s is admirable and remarkable.  One must wonder how the content would change, or if it at all, if the publication were in print today.

Columbia University Libraries hosts a diverse group of digital collections .  Of its featured collections, is the digitization of the Ling long women’s magazine, which is the largest archive outside of China. The publication has been widely used by scholars and researchers as it provides a glimpse into the lives of Shanghai women in the 1930s.  Although there is not a translation available for each page, an interpreter is not required.  Most of photographs and illustrations speak volumes.  Enjoy their chat below.

Covers.

Cover. Ling long. 1931. Vol. 7. Page 737. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Cover. Ling long. 1933. Vol. 86. Page 288. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Beauty and Fashion.

Illustration. Ling long. 1932. Vol. 42. Page 1673. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Illustration. Ling long. 1932. Vol. 50. Page 2063. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Cartoons.

Illustration. Ling long. 1932. Vol. 70. Page 936e. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Illustration. Ling long. 1932. Vol. 70. Page 936f. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Ling long Girls.

Photo of 3 women playing hoodlums. 1932. Vol. 71. Page 986. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Women. Ling long. 1935. Vol. 184. Page 1060. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Woman. Ling long. 1935. Vol. 197. Page 2028. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

Woman. Ling long. 1935. Vol. 192. Page 1607. Courtesy of Columbia University Libraries, obtained from: http://library.columbia.edu.

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Adonis: Death Does Not Become Him.

The ethereal, statuesque figure below is that of Ted Shawn, founding father of modern dance, in the 1923 play Death of Adonis.  Adonis did not quite meet his demise.  Rather, he transcended mortal deterioration by remaining ever youthful and luminescent in the public domain nearly 90 years on.   Thanks to the New York Public Library for being generous with their supernatural powers.

The NYPL Digital Gallery is a heavenly collection of 700,000 photographs, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, and more.  Rejoice in it.

Hiller, Lejaren A. “Ted Shawn in Death of Adonis.” 1923. Photographic print. The Denishawn Collection. Courtesy of The New York Public Library, obtained from: http://www.nypl.org.

Hiller, Lejaren A. “Ted Shawn in Death of Adonis.” 1923. Photographic print. The Denishawn Collection. Courtesy of The New York Public Library, obtained from: http://www.nypl.org.

Hiller, Lejaren A. “Ted Shawn in Death of Adonis.” 1923. Photographic print. The Denishawn Collection. Courtesy of The New York Public Library, obtained from: http://www.nypl.org.

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Seasonal Produce Deities.

Harvest provides life, personified in the paintings below.

The artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, is renowned for painting a collection of objects formed together to create a portrait.  Fruit, vegetables, flowers, books, sea creatures, tree roots, and other objects are his subject’s composition.   The collection featured here is the first series of Giuseppe’s “Four Seasons,” created in the mid 16th century.

These images are courtesy of Yale University’s recently digitized vast collections held by its museums, libraries and archives.   The goal of the project is to provide open access freely in the public domain to over 250,000 images and 1,500,000 records.   Yale is the first Ivy League university to undertake such an effort,  read more about the project here.

Praise be to Autumn, the most bountiful god of them all.

Praise also be to Yale’s Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure, for providing plentiful fruit in every season.

Autumn.

Arcimboldo, Giuseppe. “Autumn.” ca. 1550. Painting, oil in canvas. Italian. Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, obtained from: http://discover.odai.yale.edu/ydc

Winter.

Arcimboldo, Giuseppe. “Winter.” ca. 1550. Painting, oil in canvas. Italian. Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, obtained from: http://discover.odai.yale.edu/ydc

Spring.

Arcimboldo, Giuseppe. “Spring.” ca. 1550. Painting, oil in canvas. Italian. Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, obtained from: http://discover.odai.yale.edu/ydc

Summer.

Arcimboldo, Giuseppe. “Summer.” ca. 1550. Painting, oil in canvas. Italian. Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery, obtained from: http://discover.odai.yale.edu/ydc

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