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Photo of the Week #18: Mao in Jiangxi


Mao Zedong portrait and couplet in a family dining room in Wuyuan County, Jiangxi Province, China

I took a trip from Hangzhou to Jiangxi Province this week to check out the countryside and villages around Wuyuan. The area is famous for its amazing scenery, rural charm, and general rustic loveliness, and although going there was very much a spur of the moment kind of thing after a recommendation I received in my Hangzhou hostel, I’m actually rather glad I went.

I didn’t get very far when I was there, however, spending two nights in the very pretty Little Likeng village, trying as much as possible to keep it local before heading back. It was a less is more approach which didn’t result in any great photographs of the beautiful surroundings, but it did allow me to try some homemade rice wine, go hunting for fireflies, and practice my Chinese.

This week’s photo is of the dining room of the place I was staying. You know you’re in the countryside when you see this guy’s picture popping up all over the place. That and the fact that children seem to outnumber adults in these kinds of places.

The banner at the top reads ‘Red Sun’ (紅太陽 hóng tàiyang) in traditional Chinese. While the couplet on the sides reads, from top to bottom, right side first:

East wind is powerful, air appears fresh
東風浩蕩氣象新 dōngfēng hàodàng qì xiàng xīn

Red sun in the East rises, mountains and rivers strengthen
红日東升山河壯 hóngrì dōng shēng shānhé zhuàng

It’s all pretty standard as far as Mao love goes. Most Chinese will probably know this or some variation on the theme. But it’s Classic Communism, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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