Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cultural Revolution artefacts

Cultural Revolution era was indeed a period of turmoil in the history of China where many innocent people were persecuted and precious lives were lost. However this era also witnessed many cultural artefacts produced with themes that glorified the common folks such as soldiers, peasants and ordinary workers. Chinese paintings, porcelains, ceramics, figurines and other handicrafts all produced with revolutionary slogans and communism ideologies on them. Even the Yixing teapots were affected by this revolutionary wave of the time.

Figurines were produced to commemorate soldiers and heroes who sacrificed their lives during the Cultural Revolution era. Vases from Jingdezhen were painted with farmers rather than the traditional themes of flowers and mountains and landscapes. Even great artist who lived during that era had to paint something that reflect the spirit of that time to avoid been branded as against the party and revolution. Great artist like Li Keran had to have red flags and the communes in his brush paintings with some slogans that glorify the party.

Interestingly, artifacts from the Cultural Revolution era had become collectors items in this part of the world in the early 80s. There are professionals here who have deep passion for the handicrafts made during the Cultural Revolution era. Many art and craft shops here had a great variety of artifacts for sale, ranging from badges, figurines to paintings. Stamps of that era were also hot items and these stamps are very valuable by today's market value.

Chairman Mao at Yan'an
Support Vietnamese people against the American aggressors
This is a figurine made to glorify a soldier who lost his life to save others. He was Lei Fung, an 18 year-old soldier of the CCP, who crashed his carriage into a lamp-post to avoid a crowd when the horse turned violent beyond control. The poor soldier died instantly. I bought this pieces of art work in the 80s as the figurine captured the terrible moment when Lei Fung was seen struggling with the horse to divert the path of the carriage.

Dr Norman Bethune
Luxun, a scholar

Porcelain painting produced in the 60s
Jingdezhen vases showing peasants at work

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