|Historical Portraits — The People's Leaders, The Central People's Government Committee of the People's Republic of China|
|The People's Leaders, The Central People's Government Committee of the People's Republic of China
Antique Historical Portraits
A Chinese propaganda poster of Chairman Mao published one year before his re-election as chairman of the People's Republic of China.
Published: [Most likely Beijing]: The Da Tong Printing Factory 1953
Medium: Printed pictorial poster
Dimensions: Framed size: 38 ¾" x 29" • Sheet size: 30 ¼" x 20 5/8"
This exuberant Chinese propaganda poster contains portraits of the 63 members of the first government of the People's Republic of China. At the top and center of the work is the visage of Mao Tse-Tung, founder of the People's Republic of China and one of the most prominent Communist theoreticians in history. Mao's philosophy on revolutionary struggle and guerrilla warfare has proved extraordinarily influential, especially among Third World revolutionaries.
Of Hunanese peasant stock, Mao was trained in Chinese classics and later received a modern education. One of the original members of the Chinese Communist party, he organized Kuomintang-sponsored peasant and industrial unions (1920s) and directed the Kuomintang's Peasant Movement Training Institute (1926). After the Kuomintang-Communist split (1927), Mao led the disastrous "Autumn Harvest Uprising" in Hunan, leading to his ouster from the central committee of the party.
From 1928 until 1931 Mao, with Zhu De and others, established rural soviets in the hinterlands, and built the Red Army. In 1931 he was elected chairman of the newly established Soviet Republic of China, based in Jiangxi province. After withstanding five encirclement campaigns launched by Chiang Kai-shek, Mao led (1934-35) the Red Army on the long march (6,000 miles) from Jiangxi north to Yan'an in Shaanxi province, emerging as the most important Communist leader.
In 1949, after the Communists had taken almost all of mainland China, Mao became chairman of the central government council of the newly established People's Republic of China; he was re-elected to the post, the most powerful in China, in 1954. This poster was released one year prior to Mao's re-election.
In an attempt to break with the Russian model of Communism and to imbue the Chinese people with renewed revolutionary vigor, Mao launched the Great Leap Forward (1958). The program was a terrible failure, an estimated 20 to 30 million people died in the famine that followed (1958-61), and Mao withdrew temporarily from public view. The failure of this program also resulted in a break with the Soviet Union, which cut off aid. Mao accused Soviet leaders of betraying Marxism. In 1959 Liu Shaoqi, an opponent of the Great Leap Forward, replaced Mao as chairman of the central government council, but Mao retained his chairmanship of the Communist party politburo.
Mao's figure is an important symbol in China and in the global communist movement as a whole. Indeed, the "Cult of Mao" proved vital in kicking off the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Large quantities of politicized art were produced by the Communist party and circulated - with Mao at the center. Yet even after the end of the Cultural Revolution, many people have continued to worship Mao in family altars and in temples.
This poster shows 63 members of the first government of the PRC, presided over by Mao, along with his six vice-presidents. From left to right they are Gao Gang, Li Ji Shen, Liu Shao Qi, Mao Tse-Tung, Zhu De, Sung Jing Ling [Madame Sun Yat-sen] and Zhang Lan. Zhou En Lai, Prime Minister, is on the third rang, second from left. Deng Xiao Peng, representing his region, is on the fifth rang, first from left. Lin Biao is on the second rang, second from left.
Literature: Jean-Yves Bajon, Les Annëes Mao, illustrated on p. 14.