The Art Of Chinese Propaganda/ Posters in Cultural Revolution_Xinyi Mao

In the past five hundred years, Western culture has great influence on the world. Western culture has occupied an important position in world culture. In the past ten years, traditional Chinese culture has once again been valued by people, and various types of “Chinese elements” have been applied to modern graphic design. The design with traditional Chinese cultural elements has a unique charm of oriental culture and is a valuable asset of oriental culture. It can not be replaced by other art elements. It records down the long history of Chinese and spreads it for a long time. At the same time, it has gradually brought about a diversified design trend in international design and has a certain influence. Since ancient times, the West and China have a close relationship in visual culture.


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In 1920, The Russian Constructivists revolutionized the posters by using photo-montage and bold geometric form(Victoria and Albert Museum). This promoted the development and export of poster propaganda in World War I. Soon, this particular way spread around the world . It has affected the development and innovation of published art in many countries and regions. In 1930. China and other places have also been affected by this new style prints(Victoria and Albert Museum).


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In 1949, the Cultural Revolution broke out. This was an important proletarian revolutionary movement lead by the Chairman Mao Zedong in Chinese history (Sayej). The starting point is to against capitalism and to develop China’s own road to building Socialism (Sayej). However, his miscalculation of the political situation of the party and country caused a serious mistake. This revolution has brought important changes to China’s development. It is a memorable memory in Chinese history (Burgess). During the Cultural Revolution, many political thinkers and traditional artists were severely and cruelly criticized and restricted and even imprisoned by the people and the government (BBC Arts). At the same time, the government was trying to unify the people’s minds through new visual cultural communication methods (BBC Arts). One of the most representative of that period was the revolutionary poster propagandas. Propaganda posters belong to the category of posters and originate from posters and advertisements. However, unlike posters, the main purpose of posters is use for commercial, and the propaganda posters are mainly for political services. For example, celebrating worker labor, preaching soldiers, industrial progress, and praising Chairman Mao(BBC Arts). At that time, a large number of posters with Soviet socialist realism illustration style inspired poster propaganda were produced on a large scale. The purpose was for the government to try to sell ideology to the people, thereby indirectly achieving politicized control and silent violence (Sayej). Looking back on the history of the Chinese revolution, the posters played an important role in the revolutionary movement and war. Especially during the Cultural Revolution, the government pushed the production and dissemination of posters to the extreme. The role of publicity is even more irreplaceable. The Cultural Revolution posters recorded people’s profound memories for a period of time.


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Work Cited

Burgess, Anika. “The Art of Chinese Propaganda Posters.” Atlas Obscura, 23 Feb. 2018,

Brown, Evan Nicole. “These Vibrant Posters Track the Rise of China’s Economic Might.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 28 Feb. 2020,

“V&A · A Short History of the Poster.” Victoria and Albert Museum,

Sayej, Nadja. “The Sleeping Giant: How Chinese Posters Pushed Products and Propaganda.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 26 Feb. 2020,

“Seeing Red: The Propaganda Art of China’s Cultural Revolution.” BBC Arts, BBC,

“红色宣传画,一代人的记忆!.” 1 Aug. 2017,



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