Chairman Mao badge
China, Cultural Revolution, 1960s
An estimated five billion badges were made during China’s Cultural Revolution (1976-1977). They were worn as an expression of loyalty to Chairman Mao and the Communist Party of China. Almost every Chinese person wore one, from Premier Zhou Enlai down to the smallest child.
These badges often commemorated special occasions: for example, to mark Mao’s birthday (26 December), National Day (1 October) and the 9th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (April 1969).
The striking design and powerful language of the imagery and inscriptions of the Cultural Revolution permeated every aspect of life in China in the 1960s and 1970s.
This badge shows Mao’s portrait placed on a red globe above a lighthouse shining out over a stormy sea. The globe symbolises the international Communist organisation the Comintern (Communist International). The inscription on the back reads ‘Mao Zedong Thought is the lighthouse for world revolution’.