James and I rode around the old concession areas this afternoon. The concession areas of Tianjin are full of modern history and give the city a unique flavour. These are the areas that foreign governments siphoned out of the previous dynastic government in order to further economically exploit China. This means that large areas of Tianjin contain whole city blocks built by the French, British, Italian, and others, and the architectural styles can’t be missed. You can see some more of the architecture in the previous bike ride’s photos. I wasn’t so much after the architecture this time.
Things to look for in this gallery:
- Sexualization/objectification of women in patriotic art.
Notice the statues of the woman, worker, and soldier. Women are often depicted in Communist art in Tianjin, celebrating their newfound political status and roles. In this case, as in some other specific similar sculptures I’ve found here, their exaggerated figures are magnified by the wet t-shirt contest look. I have yet to see anyone in this city with that kind of figure. These particular statues honour heroes of the devastating Tangshan Earthquake in 1976. Click here for examples of how women were objectified/sexualized in official propaganda posters.
- A French home with no front door. Bienvenue! … or, non.
- Fascist architecture.
I’m told this isn’t all that common, but the retro-futuristic building that looks like it belongs on Mystery Science Theater 3000 is actually a piece of Fascist architecture in the Italian concession area.
- Monuments to the liberation of Tianjin
Soldiers with guns and flags. One of these monuments stands beside a French-built bridge, which was the entry point of the Communist armies during the “liberation of Tianjin.”
- Some kids in a “dog rides the rabbit.”
Some kids in a three-wheel covered taxi were watching us at a red light, so I took their picture. The local name for this kind of taxi is a “dog rides rabbit” (狗骑兔子).
- The twice-burned cathedral of the infamous “Tianjin Incident.”
See this post: The Tianjin “Incident”. The Wànghǎilóu church (望海楼教堂) and its nunnery/orphanage was torched twice, and many people killed, in two separate anti-foreign uprisings (1870, 1900). The warehouse-looking structure sitting beside the cathedral houses an actual congregation. Next door to that, a small church hospital is still in operation.
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2008 Feb 03