Take over the brush of polemics, struggle to the end

Jieguo zhanbi zhandou daodi
Take over the brush of polemics, struggle to the end
1975, June
Renmin meishu chubanshe (人民美术出版社)
77x53 cm.
BG E15/257

No matter how many books had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, no matter how much learning had been derided and how many intellectuals had been prosecuted, the Communist Party remained convinced of the mobilizational effects and effectiveness of literacy. Some intellectuals, in particular Lu Xun (hovering in the background in a characteristic pose), continued to be held up as an inspiration for young people.

The Chinese text in the background is a famous couplet from a poem by Lu Xun ("Self-Mockery" - 自嘲, 1932), in his calligraphy. It reads "Coolly I face a thousand pointing fingers, Then bow to be an infant's willing ox" (Translation Bill Jenner, 1982). In his Closing Remarks at the 1942 Yan'an Forum on Literature and Arts, where guidelines for artistic production where set that basically are still in force, Mao said that Lu's couplet should become the motto of the CCP. In his analysis, the 'thousand men' were the enemy, and the 'infant' stood for the proletariat and the masses of the people, for which the CCP should wear itself out in its service with no release until death.

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