1 November, 2010 : Chongqing and the 5 square foot room


I have often found it interesting that Chinese authors and painters in their sign-offs would include some description of their present condition. When we first found the books my granddad did in the 1940s in Chongqing, I noticed he stayed in a 5 square foot room, I even got up to try and figure out how big that is, in my imagination he has a small table on the floor that he works off and then he puts the table away so that he can sleep in such a tiny space.

Here are some of his sign offs…

Asia in Cartoons - Huang Yao. February 1, 1940 in Chongqing in a five square foot room.

Three Talks of Niu Bizi - Huang Yao. New Year’s Day in Chongqing, January 1, 1941. In a five square foot room, with four walls of debris and cracks caused by bombing.

A Chinese Soldier, Huang Yao, April 1941, living in a 5 square foot room with bombs going off around me.

I am glad none of his books said “finished in the outdoors of a 5 sq foot bomb flattened room.” Here are some pictures of my granddad around that time. They are in my grandmom’s album so I think it is more likely taken in 1941 or 1942.