Monday, December 10, 2007

Cultural Revolution Tchotchkes

Since I got onto the subject [see post immediately below this] of the talking (or more accurately, delusionally ranting) Hugo Chavez doll, I had to go back to the phenomena of collecting schlock related to sinister murderous dictators, in this case Mao. There is at least one site where one can pay up to hundreds of dollars to buy original or reproduction porcelains depicting the leader, his subordinates and revolutionary characters, many of them related to the Cultural Revolution period. Despite the political incorrectness of what I am about to say, I admit that I happen to be attracted to them for their hideously tastelessly realistic and rhetorical value, not to mention their lurid colors. It's Communist Lladro! In many of these figures, Mao looks a bit like a drag queen wearing red lipstick. The question is, given my family history, would I be offended if I went to somebody's house and they had a bust of Franco displayed knowingly as campy kitsch memorabilia?

this is the site that sells the figurines:

If you want to know about the iconography of Mao, how contemporary people in China view it, and the ways in which contemporary artists reinterpret this imagery, read this amazing article "Personal Mao" by an expert on the subject, Francesca Dal Lago:

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