Recent acquisitions have
substantially added to the Chinese Political Poster / Prints collection.
34 nianhua (Chinese New Year ) prints from the 1949-1952 period present new
but related images. This will remain a ‘work-in-progress’ since with the
prints also came a small but interesting selection of related books from the
period but published in Eastern Europe. The prints are on-line now but in
several instances details are still to be provided regarding their makers
These books include a number on the cartoons produced in China during the
Mao period, an important but less well-known aspect of Chinese art at the
To expand the coverage of that period further, we draw your attention to a
small collection of photographs we took whilst attending the Guangzhou Trade
Fair in April 1977. Mao Zedong had died just 7 months before and the country
was still in a state of confusion.
The damning of the ‘Gang of Four’ was well underway and the posters pasted
on the walls or in display cabinets left little doubt as to the anger there
was in China towards this quartet. These hand-drawn posters reveal much but
very few have made it to print and even less into books.
We took over 100 photographs of these posters, as well pictures of street
and other scenes in the city. They were taken with an element of risk to our
personal safety, since on several occasions we had to flee to avoid
receiving a thrashing.
The most gratifying aspect of presenting the nianhua prints and aspects of
the Chinese Offerings collection is that in many ways they are very similar
in use and production by much the same people with only the time and
location being different.
Most literature on the origin of the nianhua prints refers to door and
kitchen gods found in family homes . Little is mentioned about the prints
used in temple festivals though they were similarly produced.