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Ballerina with Gun

The Red Detachment of Women (红色娘子军) was a model ballet set in Hainan that tells the story of the poor peasant Wu Qinghua, who flees from a tyrannical landlord Nanbatian. She joins the Red Army’s newly formed Women’s Detachment, which works to overthrow Nanbatian. After training and several armed conflicts, the Red Army defeats the evil landlord and liberates the peasants under his thumb. As a result of her heroism, Wu Qinghua is made the Commissar of the Women’s Detachment. Clad in a military costume adapted for dance, Wu Qinghua is depicted here in an iconic pose: standing en-pointe, with arm outstretched and gripping a gun— a symbol of her liberation, power, and devotion to the Communist cause. Along with the White Haired Girl, this ballet highlighted women’s liberation and contribution to society under the Communist Party. The Red Detachment of Women was an especially popular model work; the ballet was adapted from an earlier 1961 film, and then readapted for film in 1970. The ballet was performed for President Nixon during his 1972 visit to China and remains today part of the standard repertory for the National Ballet of China.
20th c.
22.5 x 34 cm