HOMAGE TO THE PAST Items used by New China’s found­ing fa­thers are now on show in Beijing, re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - Red Star over

China.

Mau­rice Votaw was a mem­ber of the vis­it­ing group who worked for the US news­pa­per, The Bal­ti­more Sun. He was gifted a set of nine wood­block prints from Zhu De, one of the Com­mu­nist lead­ers who later be­came New China’s com­man­derin-chief.

The set was made to pub­li­cize to vil­lages the dis­ci­pline of the Com­mu­nist Eighth Route Army. It was given back to China by a vis­it­ing group of US schol­ars in 1979.

Now the wood­block prints are be­ing shown for the first pub­lic view­ing at an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional Mu­seum of China. More than seven decades af­ter they were cre­ated, the col­ors still look vivid.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, Col­lected Ar­ti­facts of Found­ing Fa­thers, that runs through Sept 26 shows some 300 ar­ti­facts once used by or re­lated to the found­ing fa­thers of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, such as let­ters, posts, pho­tos, weapons, wax fig­ures and paint­ings.

They are from the col­lec­tion of the Na­tional Mu­seum of China, and its di­rec­tor Lyu Zhang­shen says nearly half the ex­hibits are on show for the first time.

The ex­hi­bi­tion ush­ers in the 90th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army that falls on Tues­day.

It traces back to the Nan­chang Upris­ing that started on Aug 1, 1927, the first move­ment of the Com­mu­nists to fight against the then Kuom­intang rule. Since then, the CPC-led troops grew stronger and pro­duced sev­eral mil­i­tarists, such as the “10 grand mar­shals of New China”, whose be­long­ings and stat­ues are on dis­play at the show.

The mu­seum’s cu­ra­tors cat­e­go­rize the ex­hibits into four sec­tions nav­i­gat­ing those crit­i­cal mo­ments in the de­vel­op­ment of the PLA.

The first part fo­cuses on the army’s “de­vo­tion to serv­ing the peo­ple”, a be­lief and tra­di­tion that is still held dear by to­day’s PLA sol­diers.

Ob­jects in­clude a blan­ket dat­ing to 1928, when the CPC-led Red Army con­fronted the Kuom­intang troops in a vil­lage in Hu­nan prov­ince. The de­feated Kuom­intang sol­diers left many be­long­ings, in­clud­ing the blan­ket, and the Red Army gave it to vil­lagers.

The sec­ond part shows ar­ti­cles and books that demon­strate the strate­gic vi­sion of the Party and mil­i­tary lead­ers.

The third part hails the hero­ism and broth­er­hood of armies when ex­pe­ri­enc­ing wartime.

Leather waist belts once fed many Red Army sol­diers when they ran out of food dur­ing the Long March (1934-36), a two-year mil­i­tary re­treat to evade the sur­round­ing Kuom­intang army. One 77cen­time­ter belt used by mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal leader Ren Bishi is on show.

When his sol­diers couldn’t find grass or tree bark to eat, Ren sug­gested cut­ting off sev­eral sec­tions from his belt. He told his guardians to first burn the pieces and then boil them in wa­ter to make them ed­i­ble, and he shared them with sol­diers.

“The smell could not be tasty at all. hard­ships dur­ing But Ren tried to be en­cour­ag­ing and said they could pre­tend they had been en­joy­ing boiled beef,” says Lyu.

The belt’s rem­nants are on dis­play. The cut­ting marks are still vis­i­ble.

The last part traces the sig­nif­i­cant bat­tles the CPC armies won be­fore the es­tab­lish­ment of New China in 1949.

“Re­view­ing the vi­cis­si­tudes of PLA’s past, one will find it im­pos­si­ble to for­get those he­roes, and one will feel in­spired and ready to work hard for China’s great re­ju­ve­na­tion,” says Lyu.

9 am-5 pm, closed on Mon­days, through Sept 26. 16 East Chang’an Av­enue, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6511-6400.

Con­tact the writer at linqi@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

PHO­TOS BY JIANG DONG / CHINA DAILY

The Beijing ex­hi­bi­tion Col­lect­edAr­ti­fact­sofFound­ingFathers cel­e­brates the 90th an­niver­sary of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army. Ex­hibits in­clude let­ters, posts, weapons, paint­ings and wax fig­ures.

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