Sanmao (comics)


Author(s) Zhang Leping
Launch date 1935
Genre(s) manhua, pantomime comic, gag-a-day

Sanmao (Chinese: 三毛; pinyin: Sānmáo) is a manhua character created by Zhang Leping in 1935. He is one of the world's longest running cartoon characters and remains a landmark as one of the most famous and beloved fictional characters in China today.

The name Sanmao means "three hairs" in Chinese, or "thirty cents" (a reference to his poverty). While the character has undergone a number of transitions over time, he has always been drawn with the trademark three strands of hair, which implies malnutrition as a result of poverty.

History [ edit ]

Sanmao in a 1948 Shanghai newspaper. He is a street acrobat in this segment. The poster on the electricity pole reads "Celebrate Fourth of April Children's Day."

Most Chinese comic books prior to Sanmao featured adults and the Sanmao stories were also unusual in that they lacked dialogue and could therefore be classified as pantomime comics. When Zhang Leping created the manhua comic series, his main goal was to dramatize the confusion brought about to society by the Second Sino-Japanese War. He wanted to express his concern for the young victims of the war, particularly the orphans living on the streets. Most of the changes in the characters would come after World War II during the liberation in 1949.[citation needed]

Sanmao's image has also been evolving throughout time, and in some modern continuation of the comics, he is depicted as a healthy, normal student.[1] The character has also been portrayed as living through some of the most important periods in Chinese history and to futuristic space explorations.

Story [ edit ]

The comic takes place mainly during the 1930s and early 1940s and is set in Old Shanghai in its "golden era". Sanmao lived mostly in misery and stark poverty against a backdrop of war, colonization, and inflation.

Adaptations [ edit ]

The character made his first appearance in Comic and was later adapted into different formats.[2]

Chinese Name English Name Year Type Location Studio
三毛欢乐派 2006 Online game China
三毛流浪记 Wanderings of Sanmao 2006 Cartoon China

Shanghai Animation Film Studio
三毛从军记 2005 Stage Theatre China
虚拟导游三毛 2005 3D China
三毛救孤记 2004 Movie China
三毛太空漫游 2000 Theatrical Hong Kong
三毛新传 1999 TV Soap Series China
三毛流浪记 Adventures of Sanmao 1997 Stage Theatre Hong Kong
三毛流浪记 Adventures of Sanmao 1996

TV Soap Series China

Shanghai Film Studio
三毛从军记 1992 Movie China
三毛流浪记 Adventures of Sanmao 1990 Drama China
三毛流浪记 Adventures of Sanmao 1984 Cartoon China
三毛学生意 1958 Movie China
三毛流浪记 Adventures of Sanmao 1958 Puppet Film China
三毛流浪记 The Adventures of Sanmao the Waif 1949 Live-action film China Kunlun Film Company

Further reading [ edit ]

  • Farquhar, Mary Ann. "Sanmao: Classic Cartoons and Chinese Popular Culture" In Asian Popular Culture edited by John A. Lent (1995).
  • Cunningham, Maura. "Sanmao Saturday: Introducing Zhang Leping and His Sanmao the Orphan Comics", blog 30 Aug 2014.[3]
  • Cunningham, Maura. "Sanmao Learns from Lei Feng", blog 5 March 2013.[4]

Influence [ edit ]

  • The renowned Taiwanese writer Chen Ping (1943–91) chose "San Mao" as her pen name out of her deep sympathy for the lonely, homeless boy.
  • The Hong Kong movie star Sammo Hung Kam-Bo was given the name Sammo because of his supposed resemblance to Sanmao.

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ China Daily. "China Daily Archived 2007-02-05 at the Wayback Machine." "Sanmao Chinas favorite son turns 70." Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
  2. ^ Sanmao Official Website. "Sanmao." "Production Listing." Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
  3. ^ "Sanmao Saturday: Introducing Zhang Leping and His Sanmao the Orphan Comics". 30 August 2014.
  4. ^ mauracunningham (5 March 2013). "Sanmao Learns from Lei Feng".

External links [ edit ]

What is this?