Hat worn byMao in famous Snow photo on display
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.
The National Museum of China is hosting an exhibition of the
An iconic photo of Mao Zedong taken by Edgar Snow.