May 22nd, 2019


Madame Wellington Koo on Shanghai style

Mme Wellington Koo in 1921. Image: Library of Congress.

She found Shanghai in the 1920s wanting and thought it "filled with...British shipping people...nobodies at home...[who] put on upper-class airs in China...They were so insular, so middle-class...and looked down their noses at everything really beautiful and indigenous to...[Chinese] culture: jade, porcelain, antiques. And the poor foolish Shanghai Chinese were so impressed with these upstarts that they copied their manners and filled their houses with 'Western' furniture (the so-called smart Shanghai furniture all came from Grand Rapids and was heavy and ugly)."

Quoted in Wikipedia, from Koo & Taves, No Feast Lasts Forever (1975).