HOMAGE TO THE PAST Items used by New China’s founding fathers are now on show in Beijing, reports.
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
The Beijing exhibition CollectedArtifactsofFoundingFathers celebrates the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army. Exhibits include letters, posts, weapons, paintings and wax figures.