art by Ding Cong
'In Remembrance of the teahouses'.

Ding Cong was a famous cartoonist and illustrator, born in Shanghai. Desiring an easier life for his son, his father, well-known cartoonist Ding Song, refused to teach him to draw. Ding Cong became a professional cartoonist anyhow.  Since his parents couldn't afford books he went to his father's friends to read cartoon books. In old bookstores he found Western magazines about films and fashion. He always credited these things which broadening his vision.  Once he started publishing cartoons at the age of 17, he never stopped creating. His cartoons have brought him fame as one of the best cartoonists in China. In addition to his single cartoons, Cong's best-known cartoon series includes a comic called 'Reflection of the Society'. Ding's pen name, 'Xiao Ding' refers to the fact that he's "just one of the people." 

Besides his drawings of fiction figures from the novels of writers such as Lu Xun (1881-1936), Mao Dun (1896-1989) and Lao She (1899-1966), Ding has also contributed a column to Dushu (Reading) magazine. He had worked as an editor, stage designer and art teacher in China and Hong Kong during the country's war against Japan from 1937 to 1945. During his more than 60-year career in cartooning, Ding Cong has drawn cartoons, illustrated stories and designed for many different publications. 

Unfortunately in 1957 he became suspicious in the eyes of the Maoist government and was blacklisted as a "right-wing activist". Ding was banned to the remote areas of China's North East. Only three years after Mao's death, in 1979, he was allowed to paint again. Despite having been forced to stop drawing for two decades, Ding hadn't lost its skills. He kept creating great art even in old age. 

Ding Cong retired in 2007. Two years later he died in Beijing in 2009, aged 93.

art by Ding Cong
A bust of 'Docile Man' (1945)

Series and books by Ding Cong you can order today:

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