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Asia/Other : Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

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Ningpo
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26 Feb 2015
07:10:42am
Hong Kong picture postcards (PPC's) were not produced until very late in the 19th century. Although I can’t verify this, I understand the first seen was in March 1898.

Many visitors to the colony were no doubt frustrated by the lack of picture postcards available. The local Chinese, who were adept at seeing a marketing opportunity, filled a hole in the market. Those with the ability to paint in small format, would set up a small stall and hawk their wares to order. I would imagine that these street artists would pitch their stall as close to a post office as permissible.

Some had more ability and imagination then others, so the quality of the work varied from the simple to the sublime.

Although picture postcards (PPC's) had appeared, the early ones were black and white, local panoramic views or ethnic portraits. Later, hand tinting of those same subjects appeared, probably to satisfy the tourist’s desire for something colourful.

However, this may not have been adequate for some. It is likely that some tourists wanted a more oriental look to their postcards, so this ‘street art’ continued. Perhaps some were commissioned to be painted on a specific subject, others may have just been picked from the artist's ‘samples’.

It would seem that post card painting continued well after the introduction of pre-printed picture postcards. I have an example that hails from Edward VII’s reign.

Although hand painted cards were obviously sent through the postal system, some were just bought as keepsakes. In fact, unused cards seem to outnumber those postally used.

To me, the real interest is finding postally used examples, to ascertain the earliest availability of these cards. Although numerous examples exist unused on earlier postal stationery cards (PSC’s), this may not be indicative of when the illustration was actually done.

As with many aspects of postal history collecting, these cards are becoming a niche market for Hong Kong collectors.

The following painted illustration was applied to the message half of an 1895 ‘provisional' annexed reply card (a two part card, consisting of a message part and a reply part, perforated along the top edge.).

This is an example of not being able to verify the actual date of illustration:



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Good grief! I really must improve my proof reading. Hope I've got it right now!
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cocollectibles
26 Feb 2015
08:34:16am
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

Nice write up. I have eight of these and I'm glad to know more about them.

The first scan below is a full sized card and the others are just the painted region on the back. All but one are 4c QV UPU cards (the exception is a 1c).

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Ningpo
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26 Feb 2015
10:45:12am
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

That's a nice selection, made better by me seeing someone else's material. I do like the stone mason's card; the first thought that crossed my mind was Stonecutter's Island.

The 'juggler' card is a bit special too, as it portrays quite a lot in a simple image; his hairstyle (typically 'boxer') his 'trews' and the boy with a well heeled western look, with blouson and knickerbockers.

Good to see the postman on his beat. The card looks hand 'tinted'. As well as not having seen one like this before, I don't have any true ethnic or cultural hand painted cards.

Incidentally, hand painted cards seem to have been popular in China as well, in particular Shanghai. However, the quality, from what I have seen, is a step up from those produced in Hong Kong.

I'm now glad I started this thread.

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Ningpo
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10 Mar 2015
10:04:39pm
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

Here's a used example sent to Germany in 1901, on a 4 cent provisional Postal Stationery Card (PSC):


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
11 Mar 2015
12:33:10pm
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

the cards are lovely and the history behind them wonderful. i'm glad this thread elicited more cards.

David

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Ningpo
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11 Mar 2015
04:29:09pm
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

Another used example sent to Germany in 1900, on a 4 cent Postal Stationery Card (PSC):



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Ningpo
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12 Mar 2015
02:20:07pm
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

A used example of a 4 cent UPU PSC, again to Germany, sent in 1902. These cards seemed to have been very popular with the Germans!

This one has been painted in oils:


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Ningpo
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18 Mar 2015
09:01:09am
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

I mentioned in my opening post that the quality of postcard painting was quite variable. Some were almost childlike and some were done with more ability. I think that this one used in 1904, falls into the latter category:


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Ningpo
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22 Mar 2015
08:37:39am
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

The following rather elegant postcard, is quite an early example from 1893:


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Ningpo
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05 Jun 2015
10:20:21am
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

Not a postcard this time but an envelope which I received just today. This took me by surprise when I found it, as I have never seen such a late hand illustrated envelope. Not only that, I paid a small price for such an elegant piece of art.

The artwork this time is of a very high standard. The artist has even applied a 'mon' (I'm not sure if this word is also used in Chinese art).

Another bonus is the solo usage of the 1949 UPU 80c, as these don't seem to appear that often.


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Ningpo
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06 Sep 2016
09:57:52pm
re: Hong Kong: Hand painted postcards.

Here's a hand painted Chinese card and used in Shanghai. A bit ragged in the corners unfortunately:


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