Revolutionary nian hua at the British Library

On a suitably ‘new year’ theme,* my blogpost about a set of revolutionary nian hua prints from 1950 has been posted to the British Library’s Asia and Africa blog.

The image is a detail from Jian zheng huan xuan hao ren (建政懽選好人), ‘Good people happily select a government’, by ‘Wulejibatu’ (烏勒吉巴图) of Inner Mongolia (Neimeng, 内蒙]). Revolutionary nian hua, published in 1950 by Zhong hua quan guo mei shu gong zuo zhe xie hui (中华全國美術工作者拹會), ‘The Chinese National Fine Art Workers’ Association’ in Beijing (北京) and distributed nationwide by Xin hua shu dian (新華書店) ‘Xin hua [‘New China’] bookshops’. British Library, ORB.40/644 (12). Used with permission.

By the way, if you read my last post about copyright, you might be wondering about the above image and the others used in the blogpost. Well, they’re older than 50 years and, although by named artists, were produced, published and distributed as a result of a state-sponsored drive to increase the production of revolutionary nian hua in the earliest years of the PRC – essentially the artists were working for the Chinese government when these designs were made. In addition, I have been unable to find any additional trace of either of the artists featured in the blogpost. I did my due diligence!

*Of course these nian hua were produced to celebrate the Chinese New Year (aka ‘Spring Festival’), but let’s not split hairs.

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