Chinese Modern Cartoon. A transcultural approach to Modern Sketch



Parole chiave:

Transcultural Studies, Chinese Studies, Chinese Visual Culture, Chinese Literature, Chinese Cartoon



Since the second half of the XIX century, Chinese print media have been involved in intercultural exchanges that permanently modified the editorial production in Shanghai, the Chinese capital of modern press. The evolution of the visual language of cartoon (single-panelled, mainly satirical vignette) has to be located in this context, i.e. in a liminal space characterized by the contact and the intermingling of semiotic systems as well as genres and interests.
On one hand, the cartoon format is by itself a hybrid genre, born as a complex iconic-verbal construction. On the other hand, Chinese modern cartoon, which emerged and developed at the turn of the XX century along with the evolution of journalism and entertainment in semi-colonial Treaty Ports, reflects and participates into the process of bridging cultural boundaries through adaptive and integrative communication strategies (métissage).
The present essay will firstly examine the asymmetrical cultural exchanges between European-American (Punch-and-Puck format) and Chinese culture, and inside the Sino-Japanese 'interliterary community' of the late XIX century. Besides synthetizing the state of the art, the paper will also elaborate on the possibility of a Punch/Puck legacy in 1920s-1930s China. Secondly, through the analysis of selected exempla from the cartoon magazine Modern Sketch (Shidai Manhua, 1934-1937), I will present significant aspects of the transcultural processes occurred in China during the golden years of cartooning.


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Biografia autore

Martina Caschera, Università di Napoli L'Orientale

Martina Caschera was born in Naples (Italy), in May 1986.
She holds BA and MA degrees in Chinese Language, Literature and Culture (University of Naples, L'Orientale). She spent two academic years in China, the second funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship for researching in Visual Arts.
Before and after defending her PhD thesis on Chinese cartoon as a media phenomenon in 1920s-1930s China (currently under translation for publication) in March 2016, she took part in several international conferences (Zurich, London, Milan). The publication of the paper "Women in Cartoons - Liang Baibo and the visual representation of Women in Modern Sketch" in the International Journal of Comic Art is forthcoming. Dr. Caschera teaches Chinese Literature at the University of Chieti-Pescara.




Come citare

Caschera, Martina. 2018. «Chinese Modern Cartoon. A Transcultural Approach to Modern Sketch». Altre Modernità, febbraio, 85-103.



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