Here’s a fascinating little online exhibition from the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney that charts the development of Chinese revolutionary dress, and in particular the Mao suit (zhifu). It’s part of a larger virtual exhibition entitled Evolution and Revolution: Chinese dress 1700s-1990s. Check out the page on the sartorial ideology of the Cultural Revolution as well. When I was much younger I desperately wanted to be a costume historian when I grew up. Perhaps there’s still a chance!
December 27, 2007
To commemorate the Great Helmsman’s 114th birthday, Wu Suizhou, whom CCTV describes as a ‘folk artist’, has produced a set of papercuts. The photographs on the CCTV website aren’t very clear (Xinhua is better), but it looks like he has chosen classic propagandist modes of representations of Mao and other communist icons as his models. Indeed, there’s nothing very new here. In the bottom right-hand corner in black is a papercut showing Mao, Lenin, Marx and Engels in profile. This is a copy of similar papercuts available during the Cultural Revolution. (The British Museum and Musee du Quai Branly have examples in their collections.)
December 22, 2007
I found thisages ago, and it’s been sitting on my desktop waiting for me to do something with it. I think the author cogently expresses the ethical grey-area into which communist propaganda (as kitsch, or otherwise) falls. Not to mention the fear of one’s intention by displaying this material being misinterpreted. I enjoyed reading the comments best. Particularly those suggesting that the poster of Mao be modified in a Duchamp kind of style. Oh, the irony. 😉
December 10, 2007
One of the reasons why I’ve been so quiet recently, is because I’ve been trying, desperately, to get some of this thesis written up. And, in brilliant timing, I came across the following book, thanks to Mary’s recommendation:
What a godsend! It’s absolutely brilliant (clearly all the reviewers on Amazon think so too!). Thanks to Prof. Dunleavy I now have the words to describe the methodological thrust of my written-up research; my thesis going to take an analytic, plus descriptive approach. To fully appreciate what that means, you’ll have to read the book. But, suffice to say, it’s going to take a little bit of work to turn my current purely descriptive chapters into something a little more ‘analytic’.
Actually,the plan for my thesis has always been to start with case studies and open out in a broader narrative, weaving in some theory and historical stuff – I just didn’t know how I was going to achieve it. But this book really does give clear advice about how to ‘author’ a thesis to best show off your original research. I think it could, over the next six months or so, become my bible!