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Vice-Chairman Lin reads Chairman Mao’s Books

This vase, which was made before his defection and death in 1971, portrays the Vice-Chairman Lin Biao holding up the Quotations of Mao Zedong, known more commonly as the “Little Red Book.” Indeed, Lin Biao played an essential role in spreading the Chairman’s ideology by publishing the first collection of Mao’s thoughts for People’s Liberation Army soldiers in 1964. Mao’s quotations were enormously popular and the Party published the book en-masse, with the aim of distributing one book per citizen; between 1964-1967, an estimated 700 million copies were distributed. The Little Red Book thus became central to the cult of the Chairman in the 1960s and is, even today, remembered as one of the icons of the Cultural Revolution. Ironically, in spite of his important role in establishing Mao’s personality cult, Lin died as a traitor. Here, Lin, dressed in the uniform of a PLA soldier, is portrayed in a graphic style that drew from Soviet Socialist Realist painting and print. Behind him are scenes with the People’s Liberation Army, including the model soldier Liu Yingjun. The bold color scheme of the vase-- featuring the colors red and black-- was particularly popular during the early years of the Cultural Revolution, and seen widely in propaganda and posters made by the Red Guards.
Wu Kang
Height: 47 cm; diameter: 22.5 cm