Chinese Propaganda Posters at the British Library

I’ve recently published a paper in Visual Resources (36:2), which rounds up the cataloguing project I undertook at the British Library back in 2015. Abstract below:

In this paper, I discuss a project designed to increase knowledge of and make more accessible a collection of post-1949 Chinese propaganda posters at the British Library, for the benefit of a global audience of researchers and interested members of the public.

The project identified 90 individual items, dating from 1950 to 1982, with the bulk of the collection published in the mid-1960s just before the commencement of the Cultural Revolution. The paper considers the development of the collection, its thematic scope analysis of its scholarly value. It concludes that beyond the aesthetic value of the posters, the collection has significant scholarly and multidisciplinary value. The posters are documentary evidence of political, social and cultural discourse of the Maoist period and have resonances and significance beyond the national borders of China.

There is also a guide to the British Library’s collection of Chinese propaganda posters on its website, including shelfmarks and a brief bibliography.

Image: A detail from Sheng chan ji hua (生產計劃), ‘Making a plan’, by Liu Jilu (劉繼鹵), of Tianjin. 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 (1). See: Revolutionary nian hua in the British Library – Asian and African studies blog (

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