Cultural Appropriation, Design, and Gender in Calendar Posters in China (1912-1949)






design, modern woman, poster, advertisement, consumerism


This three image-essay looks at how depictions of modern woman were central in advertising designs and imported products in the context of gender, identity, and design in early twentieth-century China. The adaptation of Euro- American concepts, linked to modernisation in local contexts resulted in both the production of hybrid poster designs to promote merchandise, they embody gender fluid design. This essay uses three specific images to situate objects, image and context, before highlighting specific elements contained wihtin each as examples of mid-century gender narratives.

How to Cite

Ng, S. (2019). Cultural Appropriation, Design, and Gender in Calendar Posters in China (1912-1949). Cubic Journal, 2(2), 68–75.



Author Biography

Sandy Ng, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Sandy Ng is assistant professor of Culture & Theories in The School of Design of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), specializing in modern Chinese art and culture. She is currently working on a book-length research project that explores design, gender, and modern living in the twentieth century. She is a visiting fellow at the Bard Graduate Centre in New York, United States during the 2018-19 academic year.


Laing, Ellen Johnston. Selling Happiness: Calendar Posters and Visual Culture in Early Twentieth-Century Shanghai Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Ng, Sandy. ‘Gendered by Design: Qipao and Society, 1911-1949’ in Costume – The Journal of Costume Society (January 2015).

Ng, Sandy. "Clothes Make the Woman: Cheongsam and Chinese Identity in Hong Kong" in Kyunghee Pyun and Aida Yuen Wong (eds), Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia (Palgrave Macmillian, 2018).

Wu, Hung. “Beyond Stereotypes.” In Writing Women in Late Imperial China. Edited by Ellen Widmer and Kang-I Sun. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.