Hat worn byMao in fa­mous Snow photo on dis­play

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE | CULTURE - By LIN QI

Red Army’s Long March.

Dur­ing his four-month stay in Yan’an in North­west China’s Shaanxi prov­ince in 1936, Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Edgar Snow took one of the most iconic photos of Mao Ze­dong, the found­ing fa­ther of New China. It showed the late leader in a Red Army hat that fea­tured a red star at the cen­ter of its front face.

Snow was then con­duct­ing in­ter­views with top lead­ers of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, fol­low­ing the Red Army’s com­ple­tion of the Long March. The Com­mu­nists bega’n a two-year strate­gic retreat in 1934 to evade cap­ture byKuom­intang forces.

The hat Mao wore in the photo was bor­rowed from Snow. He had re­ceived it as a gift along with a Red Army uni­form when he ar­rived at the revo­lu­tion­ary base in July 1936.

Snow had kept the hat through his life. After his death in 1972, his fam­ily sent it to China; it is now part of a col­lec­tion at the Na­tional Mu­seum of China in Bei­jing.

The mu­seum also boasts an ini­tial edi­tion of Red Star Over China pub­lished in Lon­don in 1937. The book be­came Snow’s best-known ac­count of his time in Yan’an, and has been reprinted in dozens of lan­guages since.

The hat and the book are among some 300 items from the mu­seum’s col­lec­tion that are now be­ing shown at an ex­hi­bi­tion, ti­tled Be­lief, Spirit, In­her­i­tance. It marks the 80th an­niver­sary of the com­ple­tion of the LongMarch.

Also on dis­play are slo­gans writ­ten on wooden boards, mil­i­tary maps, comic books, let­ters and art­works, re­flect­ing the Com­mu­nist sol­diers’ dis­ci­pline and will­ing­ness to sac­ri­fice for the nation.

“The Red Army be­lieved faith­fully that ‘revo­lu­tion­ary ideals higher than the sky’. They put this into prac­tice by lib­er­at­ing the op­pressed, who in re­turn helped to spread the shared thoughts,” says Jiang Lin, a cu­ra­tor at the mu­seum.

The on­go­ing ex­hi­bi­tion shows dozens of posters and notices that the Red Army dis­trib­uted dur­ing the march. Through them, the Party com­mu­ni­cated to the peo­ple its goals and poli­cies.

The man­u­script Lovely China has moved many view­ers. Red Army divi­sion com­man­der Fang Zhimin wrote the piece to ex­press his long­ing for China’s bet­ter fu­ture when he was im­pris­oned by the Kuom­intang in 1935. Fang was later ex­e­cuted at the age 36.

He wrote that the coun­try would boast dy­namic in­ven­tions and daily progress in the fu­turewhere“joy re­places sad­ness, pros­per­ity re­places poverty ... en­chant­ing gar­dens re­place the waste­land”.

Jiang, the cu­ra­tor, says the ex­hi­bi­tion also cel­e­brates broth­er­hood, which was a LongMarch value. The Party lead­ers and sol­diers sup­ported one another while en­coun­ter­ing dif­fi­cul­ties dur­ing the march.

The tes­ta­ments on show in­clude a woolen blan­ket given to a wounded sol­dier byWuHuan, an army of­fi­cer who died in bat­tle at the age of 28, and an oil lamp which Lin Boqu, a high-rank­ing Party mem­ber, of­ten used to light rough paths for sol­diers.

Lin, who was 48 when the Long March be­gan, had a horse which he sel­dom rode that he gave to sol­diers to carry sup­plies.

A glass eye­cup that’s ex­hib­ited was one of the de­vices mil­i­tary doc­tor Fu Lianzhang used to treat sol­diers dur­ing the march. Fu, who was work­ing at a Chris­tian hos­pi­tal be­fore the march, be­came a Com­mu­nist and trained sol­diers in ba­sic med­i­cal treat­ments.

JIANG DONG / CHINA DAILY

The Na­tional Mu­seum of China is host­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of the

An iconic photo of Mao Ze­dong taken by Edgar Snow.

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