Rarely is possible to find a complete book dedicated to one etnic group. This collection comes from an old antiques market in Chengdu (Sichuan province, China).
“Selected Artworks of the Workers of Inner Mongolia” is a political and educational collection of artworks (similar to the propaganda posters) of different authors which aim was to integrate the Mongols to the Chinese Class Struggle and Communist ideology.
This book has been in printed in the Autonomous Province of Inner Mongolia by the Inner Mongolia People Daily Publishing House in April 1976.
In 1975 it was held an exhibition “Artworks of the Workers of Inner Mongolia”, from which have been selected 42 illustrations.
The dense political references and the terminology in the text might appear quite harsh, but it’s actually more mild if compared with other texts of the Cultural Revolution from the 1960’s .
Ten years later the slogans are still the same: a rindondant collage of motto to reinforce the figure of Mao (by associating Maoism to Marxism and Leninism ), and legitimate the Cultural Revolution.
The reader should not been distracted by other topics and always keep in his mind that these illustrations have a political value to promote in primis and secondly an artistic one.
After all Mao Zedong is passing away in the same year, in 1976, and the famous Gang of Four, which assumed the role of power maker of China during the last year of illness of the Old Chairman Mao, are precisely controlling the arts and the communication channels to maintain their leading position in the country.
Under the direction of the Chairman Mao revolutionary literature and the direction of all the levels of the committees, are growing quickly the amateur art groups in our area, creating extremely vivid activities. Based on the guiding principle of the Class Struggle the artist are following the basic route of the Party and working closely with the Three Revolutionary Activities, creating any kind of artworks which posses the brightness spirit of this era and which enhance the style of the [revolutionary] struggle.This artworks are functional to “Gather and educate the People, and to beat and remove the subversives”.
The minority groups should emancipate themselves from the classes and adopt the socialism of the motherlnd China.
Still is very interesting that of the 42 illustrations none of them have been signed by a Mongolian person, but by Chinese Han workers. In other words, they made an idealization of the communist society in Inner Mongolia under Chinese prospective.
Here the most reppresentative ones:
Please kindly notice that because of the age the pages of the text are quite delicate and not all the pictures are accurate.
学好无产阶级专政理论 Learn the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat
Most of the illustrations of the collection are not actually related with Mongolian ethnicities. The illustrations intend to promote instead the universal values for Chinese Communist society in the 70’s.
We should not forget that after 1949 when PRC was founded a large part of Han Chinese minority have been transferred all around the country to settle down in non-Han territories. The loss was not only for minor ethnic groups, but also for the Han (every area had it’s own cultural roots). The result is that today Inner Mongolia’s population is composed by 79% by Han Chinese and only 17% by Mongolian.
Also between 1969 and 1979 part of the territories of Inner Mongolia were split between many provinces (mostly Heilongjiang, Jiling, Liaoning, Gansu and Ningxia.
In the illustration above, in the upper part Lenin represents the sprit of the revolutionary world, and below the young worker-lady is reading the Red Book of Mao Zedong, which symbolize correct way for the masses to create the Chinese Communist society.
林彪和孔老二都是坏东西 Lin Biao and Confucious Are All Bad Stuffs
Lin Biao was a central political figure who consolidate his leading role in 1966 when was nominated Mao successors during the Cultural Revolution. He died in 1971 due to a plane crash in Inner Mongolia. It is said that he was escaping from China after he failed a golpe attempt.
In 1973 July, Mao Zedong pointed out that Lin Biao was like the Guomindang, that some groups were restoring the Confucian cultural structure. Mao Zedong wanted to prevent the denial of the Cultural Revolution and the restoration of old values, so he approved Wang Hongwen and Jiang Qing’s request, proposed to the Party Central Committee, to lunch the movement against “Lin Biao and Confucianism”. The movement was carried out in the whole country.
The movement last about half a year. During this period, the Jiang Qing Gang promoted the slogan of “Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius”. As a concequences in all the country were criticized those belived to restauring Confucian society and even again Zhou Enlai, more moderate than the group around Mao.
After the death of Mao Zedong the Jiang Qing and others took the opportunity to seize power, for they were severely criticized. Denounced by Government, they will called “Gang of four”. They reppresents the most dark part of the politcal history of Chinese Revolution because they distorted the social way of the country for they hunger of power.
驯马毛归来 The addomesticated horse come back
This sketch reppresents the return of a young [re]educated Mongolian girl to her family. She is still wearing her boots good for the farm life, but she has completely adopted the custumes of the revolutionary gilrs of the Chinese society of the time. Also she is wearing the red pins with the golden profile of Mao. Her family looks happy to see her after the long absence but we can almost perceive that the are celebrating her political evolution forward the socialist China .
The same concept it repeats below.
My conclusion is that already in 1975 time, the social diveristy of China in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was cocierved as we can see from these artworks. The generational change was represented from the old generation, pictured as poor and radicated in his tradition, and the new generation of the revolutionary youth.
The two decades of the 60’s-70’s had radically changed the Chinese society, which perhaps didn’t had real social burdens but is own cultural multiciplity. Thirty years since than the result is inequivocabily evident, and those people that are still living out of this circle are now been isolated not much the autorities, but the society which etiquettes them as a group of people which wears funny cloths and sings old nostalgic songs.