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Small Things of Great Importance: Toy Advertising in China, 1910s-1930s

Boretti, Valentina (2016) 'Small Things of Great Importance: Toy Advertising in China, 1910s-1930s.' Asia Pacific Perspectives, 13 (2). pp. 5-48.

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Abstract

From the turn of the twentieth century, playthings acquired a key role within the Chinese childrearing discourse as tools to train children, the prospective rescuers of China from its perceived decline. As a possibly unintended result, both children and toys acquired a marketing value: advertising employed them as icons to publicize a wide array of products. At the same time, the nascent toy industry "poached" the new discourse to brand its playthings as symbols of (made-in-China) educated progress, seeking to convince the affluent to reject things foreign, and to attract those who wished, through consumption, to participate in an enlightened community. In the reality devised by advertising, playthings would reveal, or construe, parents' affectionate yet progressive competence, whilst children would be shaped into ideal citizens. Drawing on advertisements placed in periodicals for adults and children by Chinese and foreign producers between the 1910s and the 1930s, this study explores the ways in which children and toys were marketed as testimonials and catalysts of cognizant modernity.

Item Type: Articles
Keywords: toys, Republican China, advertising, children
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISSN: 21671699
Depositing User: Valentina Boretti
Date Deposited: 03 May 2016 09:33
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/22384

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