Chinese Design Concepts

About Madame Mao's Dowry

Created in Shanghai in 2001, our store showcases early modern Chinese design in an environment enhanced by selected pieces of provincial antique furniture. To learn more about the specific kinds of works we sell, please visit our In Store page here.


The heart of our concept lies in art and objects from the Mao period. We chose the name for our store to reflect our connection with modern China and our concentration on the beauty of ordinary things. Mao is a very common name in China, but it is also the name of the most famous character of China’s early modern period. Also the last Madame Mao was Modern China’s Head of Culture during the revolutionary period, whilst Mao Zedong’s second wife was a heroine of the Long March. The word “dowry” refers to the things that parents collect together for their daughter for her wedding day, so that when she leaves their home she takes the foundations of her new home with her. These items are carefully selected for their utility and their beauty. We hoped that by putting these three words together we would create an interaction with people in Shanghai who visit our store, to make them think about its possible meanings. Some people assume that I am Madame Mao, whilst others see only the connection with the last of Mao Zedong’s wives, the fun is in the interpretation.

Between our extensive collection of authentic  propaganda posters, our own label design wares, and a selection of works by contemporary Chinese artists and designers, we intend to demonstrate the significance of the Mao period for Chinese Design. Not relying solely on our own efforts, the artists and designers we showcase in store creatively integrate history into their fashionable work, whether it be in the form of clothing, enamelware, or decorative accessories.

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Fumin Lu then and now...