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. 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.
Most Chinese comic books prior to Sanmao featured adults and the Sanmao stories were also unusual in that they lacked dialogue. 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 WWII during the liberation in 1949.
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. The character has also been portrayed as living through some of the most important periods in Chinese history and to futuristic space explorations.
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.
|Chinese Name||English Name||Year||Type||Location||Produced due to||Channel Name||Film Studio Name|
|三毛流浪记||Adventures of San Mao||2006||Cartoon||China
|TrueVisions and CCTV||True Spark
|Shanghai Animation Film Studio|
|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
|TrueVisions and Shanghai Television Station||True Explore 3
True Film Asia
True Asian Series
|Shanghai Film Studio|
|三毛流浪记||Adventures of Sanmao||1990||Drama||China|
|三毛流浪记||Adventures of Sanmao||1984||Cartoon||China|
|三毛流浪记||Adventures of Sanmao||1958||Puppet Film||China|
|三毛流浪记||The Winter of Three hairs||1949||Movie||China|
Farquhar, Mary Ann. "Sanmao: Classic Cartoons and Chinese Popular Culture" In Asian Popular Culture edited by John A. Lent (1995).
- 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.
- The Adventures of Sanmao the Waif (1949): A live-action movie adaptation.