September 13, 2014

1219 CHINA (Hong Kong) - The old market

In nowadays one of the most densely populated areas in the world, Hong Kong was before the First Opium War (1839-1842) little more than a backwater of about 20 villages and hamlets, inhabited by fishers at the mercy of typhoons and pirates. After the British settlement the entrepôt of Victoria City (now Central and Western District), the local population increased substantially, and as a result began to appear tong lau (Chinese tenement), designed for both residential and commercial uses, similar in style and function to the shophouses of Southeast Asia. The ground floor portion was reserved for commercial use, mostly for small businesses like pawnshops and food vendors. The upper floors were residential use and catered to Chinese residents, with apartments and small balconies.

Most tong lau were 2-4 storeys tall and 4.5m in width, tightly packed in city blocks, and combining Chinese and European architectural elements. Although these buildings had stairs but no elevators, and sometimes had neither toilet facilities, remained the mainstay of Hong Kong architecture until at least WWII; a number of them survive to this day, albeit often in a derelict state. The painting reproduced on this postcard, depicting an old market in Hong Kong, belongs to the Chinese artist Shen Ping, born in 1947 in Beijing, since 1980 an Hong Kong permanent resident.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Kang Lau Shek, is part of the fourth set of definitive stamps issued by Hongkong Post since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Issued on 24 July 2014, the series contains 16 stamps designed by Ms. Shirman LAI, showcasing the distinctive landforms and landscape of Hong Kong Global Geopark of China.

Architecture of Hong Kong - Wikipedia

Sender: Jose / mcc301 (postcrossing)
Sent from Hong Kong (Hong Kong / China), on 27.08.2014

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