Ah, sweet nostalgia. Long afternoons playing with kids whose names we don’t remember, showing off our toys made of tin and plastic. Look at this wind-up chicken’s manic pecking action! And you can play with my Constructicon, but only if you promise to be really, really careful with it. His name’s Scrapper, and he’s their leader, and he forms the right leg of DEVASTATOR! Look, you pull his head out like this, and then you make him stand, like so…
If you’re like us, and have bits and pieces of your 1980s Chinese toyhood floating around the old memory pool, then you can get a refresher course at the ‘Dreams Return to Childhood’ 1980s Toys Exhibtion currently on at the Shanghai Mass Art Center.
Toy collector Zhu Yuxiang (朱宇翔) has curated a collection of old wanju from an era when Chinese parents were just getting their feet wet in terms of spoiling their only kids with toys, and the nature of the items on display are telling. China hadn’t yet completely become enough of a viable market for the best, most expensive toys in the 80’s, and thus the artifacts at the exhibit are rather simplistic, and comparable with 1950s-era playthings seen in more developed countries.
So if you’re looking to invoke the old childlike wonder for an afternoon, or if you want to play cultural anthropologist and get nostalgic for eras you missed out on, then head over to the Shanghai Mass Art Center in Xuhui for a gander. And bring Kleenex! Who knows what long lost toy of yours will be there to reduce you to a sniffly mess.
Exhibition & museum info after the jump…
The exhibition runs until September 20th, and a special 80s toy show-and-tell session will be held tomorrow (Saturday the 27th) at 2pm, with first-come first-served seating.
‘Dreams Return to Childhood’ 1980s Toys Exhibtion (“梦回童年”80年代怀旧玩具展) // Free // Museum open from 10am-4pm // Running until September 20th // 3rd floor of the Shanghai Mass Art Center // 125 Guyi Lu in Xuhui (古宜路125号) // Closest Metro Stop Yishan Lu (宜山路站) Line 3/4
Photos from Douban