Chinese art, design and craft, £14.99
Chairman Mao badge
Made during the Cultural Revolution, 1960s
Millions of Chinese people follow Chairman Mao
This badge portrays Mao Zedong (1893-1976), Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. He is shown with the rays of the sun emanating from him. The badge bears the inscriptions 'Respectfully wishing Chairman Mao a long life without obstruction' on the front, and 'Long live Chairman Mao' on the back. This badge was probably made during the late 1960s.
Although Mao badges were first made in 1937, they reached their height during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Mao badges were made by most factories and institutions, and worn by almost all Chinese people. They were produced in plastic, metal, bamboo and porcelain in a great variety of different styles. The British Museum has a collection of over 120 Mao badges, but this is tiny compared to some private collections in China, which number thousands, and sometimes even tens of thousands.
R. Benewick and S. Donald (eds), Belief in China - art and poli (Brighton, The Green Centre, The Royal Pavilion Art Gallery and Museums, 1996)