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Beginning in the 1870s, satirical drawings appeared in newspapers and periodicals.
By the 1920s palm-sized picture books like Lianhuanhua were popular in Shanghai.
Before the official terminology was established, the art form was known by several names.
It had innovative, realistic drawings with details resembling real people.
Feng Zikai, in his 1925 series of cartoons entitled Zikai Manhua, reintroduced the term into Chinese in the modern sense.
The oldest surviving examples of Chinese drawings are stone reliefs from the 11th century BC and pottery from 5000 to 3000 B. Other examples include symbolic brush drawings from the Ming Dynasty, a satirical drawing titled "Peacocks" by the early Qing Dynasty artist Zhu Da, and a work called "Ghosts' Farce Pictures" from around 1771 by Luo Liang-feng.
The word "manhua", literally "impromptu sketches", is originally an 18th-century term used in Chinese literati painting.
The introduction of lithographic printing methods derived from the West was a critical step in expanding the art in the early 20th century.
The materials would also bloom in the 90s with work like Mc Mug and three-part stories like "Teddy Boy", "Portland Street" and "Red Light District".
Since the 1950s, Hong Kong's manhua market has been separate from that of mainland China.
Some of the manhua that mirrored the early struggles of the transitional political and war periods were The True Record and Renjian Pictorial.
Up until the establishment of the Shanghai Sketch Society in 1927, all prior works were Lianhuanhua or loose collections of materials.