Harbin: Politekhnik, .  pp.: ill. + 154 pp. of ads. 19,5x26 cm. In original illustrated cardboards and new case replicating cover design. Binding restored, otherwise very good.
Great representation of Harbin of early Manchukuo through about 150 city views and 240 advertisements in various languages. By the 1930s, there were about 110,000 Russians in Manchuria. A new wave of Russian refugees to China was caused by the collectivization campaign carried out in the USSR.
The album was designed in the Russian art-nouveau style. Elements of art-nouveau turned up in Russian pre-revolutionary editions and flickered in earliest post-revolutionary periodicals. This style was mercilessly supplanted by the avant-garde and, to a greater extent, by constructivism, which corresponded to the struggle against bourgeois values and bohemia. Yet, it still existed among the emigrants who left for Harbin.
The section ‘Commercial & Advertising’ is filled with bakeries, fabric, shoe and electronics stores, tailors and enterprises selling ready-to-wear clothes, movie theaters, pharmacies and perfume stores, bookstores and newspapers, as well as educational courses. The Medical Directory of Harbin lists physicians and dentists whose ads are published nearby. Besides Chinese, European and local Russian companies, Soviet products and services were offered as well: musical instruments, TEZHE perfumes, Crimean and Caucasian wines, Mosselprom confectionery and canning products, international shipping. Most advertisements are illustrated with pictures of signboards, buildings or goods. Two illustrations were mounted, including a color one, and few corrections of contact information were glued above pages.
Photographs feature street views, administrative buildings, foreign consulates, railway and river stations, Chinese and foreign banks, churches and temples of different religions, theaters, hospitals, buildings of educational and scientific institutions, clubs, sports and charitable societies, bridges, tram lines, Russian and Chinese signboards, markets, etc. Captions were printed in English, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.
A separate section is dedicated to Harbin on days of 1932 flooding. It broke records of previous years because the water level of the Sunghwa river had raised up to 134,31 meters above sea level. It ruined villages, gardens and stores, and destroyed miles of railways. A ring of flooded territory cut Harbin off from the rest of the world. Photographs show flooded streets with people transported by boats or took risks and waded.
According to the foreword, it was “the only unrivaled edition of the Polytechnik Publishing Company”. Meanwhile they also published the Directory of Manchuria.
The only copy is located at the University of Hawaii.