Internet Guide for Chinese Studies Newsletter
25 Feb 2005, reviewed by Hanno E. Lecher

New in IGCS - Culture and Art (

"To Read Too Many Books is Harmful" (Mao Zedong) - Books in Chinese Propaganda Posters: Objects of Veneration, Subjects of Destruction

Ed./Corp.: Stefan Landsberger/Hanno E. Lecher, Institute of Chinese Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Language: English.

Self description: "The posters exhibited here focus on these changing attitudes of the CCP towards books, book knowledge and learning in general. They also show how the artistic styles employed in propaganda design developed through the decades. Where the new leaders still took great pride in their cultural achievements and the successful struggle against illiteracy in the early 1950s, this changed into suspicion of bookishness in the early 1960s. The Cultural Revolution that followed became widely know for its savage destruction of historical and intellectual artefacts. [...] Once life seemed to have returned to relative normalcy in the early 1980s and the PRC embarked on its second - economic - revolution, the status of books, knowledge and learning was restored. It is obvious that where Mao's continuous efforts at mobilization in the name of the revolution would have been unthinkable without posters, the second revolution that was engineered by Deng could do well without them. Not surprisingly, the images from the 1990s and beyond lack the vitality and urgency that marked those from the preceding periods."

Description: The posters are displayed as thumbnail as well as larger jpg-file and include the name of designer, year and place of publication (sometimes with some details about circulation etc.), a translation of the text contained, and some notes on content and context, written by Stefan Landsberger (who also wrote the introduction).

Site contents: (1) Introduction; (2) Posters.

With kind regards,

Hanno E. Lecher



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