Picturing the 1911 Revolution

Via the comments1 to this post I see that Oberlin has posted an on-line version of History of China for 1912 in 52 cartoons

These seem to be weekly cartoons published in something called the National Review (not the same as the current American magazine of the same name) Needless to say if you are responsible for coming up with a cartoon on Chinese politics every week there will be some weeks when inspiration does not strike or not much seems to be happening, even the the revolutionary year of 1911. Still, many of them are quite good for teaching with or thinking about.

Jan_13Here, for instance, is a nice one showing the Manchus and Han fighting it out while various foreigners take advantage of the opportunity to grab stuff. One of the standard themes of 1911 is that Chinese elites on all sides wanted to settle the thing quickly to avoid encouraging foreign intervention and this picture, drawn by a foreigner no less, illustrates this pretty well.


This one is a little trickier. What do the foreigners make of Sun Yat-sen? Is he a Socialist (in a bad sense)? a dreamer, someone adopting Western ideas to China in an admirable way? I can’t really tell from this


This one is good for contrasting foreign and Chinese views of affairs Like a lot of them there is a classical theme, and while that is not too surprising I suspect that one purpose of these is to bring a better knowledge of the Classics to the better sort of Chinese who might be reading this. What might a Chinese reader’s reaction to this one be? The daughters of Oceanus are very kind to be bringing New China a Boom in Trade, but one would not have to be too nationalist to be a tad suspicious of Loans on Reasonable Terms. I don’t think that any Chinese would say that the Sovereign Rights they bear had “gone a-missing.” They were indeed gone, but they had not just wandered off. There might be some Chinese would would say that a Yuan Shi-K’ai presidency as a gift of the foreign powers, but I doubt Yuan himself would have emphasized that. He certainly would not have called it the “climax of divine generosity”

There is a lot of good stuff in here

  1. from peacay of BibliOdyssey

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