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A vast world in the countryside

This set of ceramic jars were made in a traditional form used to hold porridge and are decorated with goldish, auspicious symbols of wealth, for their lid and handles. But despite their traditional shape and ornament, the jars feature revolutionary imagery: rich farmland with tractors in front of a factory with electrical towers. In the background, the artist has depicted distant mountains and a glowing red sun, a reference to Mao Zedong and the revolution. These jars not only highlight the nation’s alleged industrial and agricultural productivity, but also reference through the inscription above the central image, “The vast world in the countryside,” the Communist Party’s policy that sent many urban students to labor in the countryside.
20th c.
Height: 21 cm; diameter: 19 cm