After seeing the acrobatics show, I was both more and more interested in Manhua as well as the Chinese ancient acrobatics. First I needed to learn how to pronounce “Manhua”, as I already had learned how to say “Manga” which was dead easy of course. In the Chinese language you have what is called tones, which makes pronounciation a lot more trickier than in Chinese. In simplified Chinese “漫画”, is pronounced like Mànhuà. The best success I have had so far, is to just try and say it in a way that sounds a little bit funny.. like having tones without really knowing the exact and correct ones. Someone did say that as a learning trick it’s better to forget about tones, or at least not to focus on them too much. In this way you can kind of get a natural feeling to the words and it’s as if with practice, you learn how to say the words by themselves.
All this is a great example of just how deep you can go with things in China, even with the simple word for comics. Well of course, I like a bit of a challenge and, to study the etymology of words. I found out that the word actually means “impromptu sketches” which was later introduced back to the modern Chinese culture.
It all started with pottery between 5000 to 3000 B.C. Also it was a popular thing in the Ming Dynasty. It’s really funny to think about it, how drawings of peacocks have transformed into the modern form of comics that is prevalent in China. The real boom started in the 19th, and 20th centuries. About the time when acrobatics came about and change the whole Manhua comics scene. The other favorite old form of Chinese comics has to be Lianhuanhua, which was popular in Shanghai during the 1920s. It’s really where the modernity of it all started off. But nothing comes without a price of course, because they were used as a political tool and to spread propaganda. Actually I would like to say that it kind of depicts the power of comics. While nowadays some people even ridicule the paint and the brush, it remains just as powerful as in the ancient times. Even with added benefits, like for example the power the simple lack of these restrictions and what is now known as freedom as speech.