Shanghai before the War
By CHENG, Shao , 1940

New Map of Shanghai Issued by the Ya Kwang Geographical Institute.

Asia China
  • Author: CHENG, Shao
  • Publication place: [Shanghai]
  • Publisher: Published by the Asia Geographical Institute
  • Publication date: October, 1940.
  • Physical description: Chromolithograph plan, inset plans of Western District Extension, Central District, Shanghai Central of Municipal District, and Native City, folding into original black cloth covers, lettered in silver, some damp-staining to left portion of plan and upper cover.
  • Dimensions: 530 by 745mm. (20.75 by 29.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1383


Detailed plan of Shanghai.

During the 1920s and 30s Shanghai had become the most important port in Asia, with tea, silks and porcelain being exported to Europe and America, and a great deal of opium being imported. The city was home to some 3 million inhabitants, of which 70,000 were foreigners. Although small in number, the foreigners (mainly British, French, American, Russian and Japanese), due to land concessions – which are clearly delineated on the map – controlled almost half the city and much of the import and export trade. What is not marked on the plan, however, are the city’s notorious opium dens and whorehouses; with such earthly temptations well catered for and no passports or visas required, Shanghai became an infamous and exotic port of call.