Mar 27, 2008

Strange Souvenirs: Cultural Revolution Kitsch China

I wonder how may people traveling to the Olympics in Beijing this summer will come home with Chairman Mao-Era inspired souvenirs.

Walk through any major market frequented by tourists in China’s major cities and there is plenty of Cultural Revolution kitsch stocking vendor’s stalls.

Ceramic collectibles depicting followers are lined up like atrophied action figures with a post war color palette. Propaganda posters and wind up alarm clocks complete with a devotee waving the Little Red Book of Quotations are popular items. I’ve been tempted by the alarm clock on several occasions.

Stacks of the Little Red Book are also common. They are available in many languages. I saw French, Japanese and German to name a few.

Here are some of the places in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong where you can stock up on Mao Memorabilia:
Liulichang Beijing
Dongtai Road Antique Market Shanghai
Hollywood Road Hong Kong

8 comments:

laradunston said...

Oh, I love these statuettes so much. I bought a few when I was in Beijing a few years ago. I'm a big fan of communist kitsch. In Bulgaria you can get some terrific Soviet memorabilia, which is really cool too. They seem to have more of the stuff in Sofia than they do in Russia. I love it all!

Wendy said...

I like it as well and have regrets about not picking up the alarm clock. I'm fascinated by the design of communist era kitsch.

GMG said...

TGIF!!! Finally, some moments without having to think on things to do tomorrow and with time to come and enjoy your posts!
I'm sure they will sell this kind of stuff by millions next August... Was never too impressed, but now that you talk about, maybe I should have paid some more attention to that kitsch...
Thanks for your comments at Blogtrotter where I'm now strolling around Bilbao!
Have a great weekend!
Gil

Wendy said...

Gil,
Thanks as always for stopping by.

Prêt à Voyager said...

Yes, my biggest regret in China is not bringing home a waving Mao watch. Totally love those statuettes!

Anne

Xander said...

Communist kitsch is really big in Vietnam, as well. I can certainly understand why the propaganda posters are so popular though- their bold colors and sleek graphics are really quite cool. -X

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Man, I am so loving those darling little action figures. I want a whole table full.

Wendy said...

Xander,
I almost chose a photo of one the posters for this post-Bold red, white and black.

Anne and Maryam, I still have serious non-buyer's remorse.