Cultural Revolution Posters



1. Choose a poster to analyze that was produced during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1978).  Use one of the websites under the “Resources” part of the page.

2. Translate the main tagline or slogan of the poster. 

•    If you use one of the posters from or Maopost, the complete slogan translations and pinyin are given on the page.  Therefore, to fulfill the translation requirement, you will need to choose two characters that you previously did not know from the poster’s slogan and introduce them to the class during your poster presentation.
•    If you use a poster from another website, translate the poster’s slogan into English.  Include the pinyin for the characters in your translation.
•    If you need help identifying which part you should translate, please ask the teacher.
3. Thoroughly describe (in English) the visual aspects of poster.  Use some of the following questions (at least 5) as a guide to describing your image.    This description should take a least two paragraphs.

•    What is happening in this poster?
•    If there are people in the poster, what emotions do you see on their faces?  Are they happy, sad, angry…?  Why do you think they feel that way?
•    What kinds of people do you see in the poster?  What are they doing?  Are any of them recognizable public figures, and, if so, who are they?  What are they doing in the poster?
•    Besides people, what other symbols or images do you see?  What might these symbols or images represent, and what is their significance?
•    When you look at this poster, what is your eye drawn to first?
•    What colors do you see in the poster?
•    What kind of lines are in the picture?  Are they thick and cartoonish, or are they more subtle, like a painting or photo?  Why do you think the artist chose to use these kinds of lines?
•    What kind of emotions do these colors/lines portray?
•    What do you see in the background of the poster?  What is the significance of what is happening in the background?
•    Where is the light source in the image? (For example, where is the sun, what direction is the light coming from, etc.?)  How significant is the light source in the image?

4. Write a paragraph about the historical significance of the poster.  The questions below can help you get started:

•    About what year was the poster produced?  What was happening in that year?
•    What message is the poster trying to communicate?  What was the significance of that message at the time?

5. Give a 5-8 minute presentation to the class introducing your poster.  You will need to do the following:

•    Find some way to show us your image (Using a Power Point presentation, showing a photograph on a screen, printing out several images to be passed around, etc.)
•    Describe your image.  (Hint: See question 3.)
•    Describe how your poster was significant at the time.  (Hint: See question 4.)
•    Introduce the poster’s slogan to the class.  Include the pinyin for the slogan, the English translation, any interesting characters you would like to introduce (no more than two), and what message the slogan was trying to communicate.  (Hint: See question 2.)

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