The Chinese picture-story book Today, if you went into a comic store in China, you would not find anything else except American superhero books and Japanese mangas. But once upon a time, there was a totally different art style which kept the place that the comics stay in right now, appeared all over streets and lanes, deeply influenced people’s entertainment life and flavor of art. It is the Chinese picture-story book. Different from the comic’s complicated story boards, the Chinese picture-story book tells a sequential story by showing a single image in per page and combining the related descriptions below the image. The size of the books are small, most of them are no larger than four by seven inches. The painting skill comes from the traditional Chinese line drawing, which is using changing lines to portray characters, things, shading and textures. As a native art style, the origin of picture-story book can be traced back to the Northern Wei Dynasty that people had already been used to combine writing and pictures to tell a story. Some of the picture-story books today are directly re-creations of those ancient art works such like the murals of Mogao Grottoes. During the Tang Dynasty, based on a background that the Buddhism was crazy prevailing, the illustrated sutras were widely separated among the common people, and the picture-texts art style was widely accepted by the same time. Till Song Dynasty, with the popularization of printing technology, a big plenty of picture books with brilliant contents were made and popular. They were very similar with the picture-story book today and became the predecessor of it. In modern times, the Chinese picture-books experienced rising and falling within one hundred of years. It was once a big part in people’s life of entertainment, advertisement and education, and gradually forgotten by people with the changing of the culture environment. It has been framing, lighting Chinese modern culture, and left the highlight in the history. The embryonic time By the end of Qing Dynasty, with the developing of printing technique, the picture-book was widely popularized. In 1884, the Shun Pao newspaper office started publishing a pictorial as a handout to attract readers. In 1899, ShangHai Culture& Arts Publishing published Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which was the first series of picture-books that presented the content of classic literary works. Later during the Republican period, with a higher interest of people, the picture-story book got a further development, a large number of new works were published. Until 1930, most of those books were myth stories or historical war stories. This condition suddenly changed after Japan invaded in the northeast of China in 1931, more and more picture-books which talked about people’s life under the war and related social issues appeared in eyes. One of the most famous and popular series of picture-story books Sanmao Roams, which described a war orphan’s struggling life, were published from 1935. The good time During the civil war from 1945 to 1949, the materials were terribly scarce. As the easiest way to have fun of, the picture-story book once became the synonym of entertainment, and got the most numbers of readers ever. After 1949 the war’s ending, the country started recovering, and the picture-story books met its first excited golden age. Because of its popularity, the government saw the picture-story book as an important way to acknowledge people, it highly enriched people’s life. Based on a huge sales volume, more and more artist throw themselves into picture-story book, and resulted a widely enlarged range of topics. Historical stories, legends, classic novel stories, political propagandas, science, and even minority language stories. Also, because most of the artist who working on picture-story books were the top-level painters, the books during this time were qualitatively the highest ever, and the resplendence was hard to reappear in later days. The golden age of picture-book last to 1966, left China numerous treasures behind. The stasis and the second peak In 1966, the Cultural Revolution started. Just like all the other art styles, the picture-story book totally stopped its steps on developing. Within around ten years, the free creating was basically into a standstill. The topics were limited by the rules we called “three emphasizing” and “following the red”. So finally all those characters became highly similar to each other, and the stories were going in the same model. Later in 1978, the wrong way of the Cultural Revolution was corrected, and the picture-story book met its second good time. After ten years blanking period, for catching up with the world, the artists started absorbing elements from foreign culture. The traditional line work changed close to western sketches, the size of the book became lager, and the color in pictures became purer and brighter. Also, a lots of stories that adapted from foreign novels were published. In 1980, the highest art college, Central Academy of Fine Art, opened the picture-story book program. But all of these efforts seems too late, with the quick separating of video media, comics, and manga, the picture-story book loosing most of readers. Several years later in 1990, the picture-story books had already been out of common people’s life.