Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Rent Collection Courtyard Sculptures -- From feudal oppression to Communist revolution in China

The truly remarkable Chinese Rent Collection Courtyard sculpture and art exhibition was created in 1965 on the premises of the expropriated manor-house of the former feudal landlord and tyrant Liu Wen-tsai. Located in China's Tayi County, Szechuan Province, the exhibition consisted of 114 clay sculptures that showed the terrible oppression under which Chinese peasants lived and toiled and culminates with the peasants rising up and overthrowing the landlord and his lackeys and thugs.

The sculptures are excellent examples of socialist realism with amazing detail and artistry. The exhibition was hugely successful during the Cultural Revolution. Created by a team of sculptors from a local art academy, its works were remade and used as models for another and larger display in Beijing.

Here we are looking at some of the photos from a book published in the People's Republic in 1968 that promoted the exhibition and its themes.I have included short blurbs that give an historical backdrop as well as maps of the region and manor. 

(Click on images  to enlarge)

The Courtyard

An elderly peasant with no remaining family offers up her last possession, 
a hen, to try to pay the rent.

The crushing load of rent

We will settle accounts one day

A widow's grain must all go to rent

An old man is kicked to the ground 
when he cannot meet the landlord's henchman's demands

She stiffens with anger at the sight of such cruelty

A little girl empties her family's grain into the winnower

The landlord's thugs beat the man for trying to keep some of his grain

Only on basket of grain left

Preparing for the Peck Measure 

What kind of a world is this?

A peasant counts his tally sticks and hopes he can pay his debts

Screaming out at the landlord's injustice

A henchman and a Kuomintang soldier hold back a peasant's son

The peasants burn with anger

Class brothers, unite to settle accounts with the landlord!

A mother is torn away from her baby and family

A blind peasant is forced to sell his granddaughter into bondage as a servant

A family is broken up as a man is dragged 
away from his house for failing to pay his debts


He is determined to destroy the landlord's den with his ax

We must smash the old system!

Seizing the guns of the landlord's thugs

Marching into the mountains under the banner of the Communist Party 
to wage an armed struggle against the landlord's tyranny

Only revolution will tear down the rent collection courtyards

Joining the guerrillas in the mountains!

The red flag of revolution!

United as one the army and people are invincible

The landlord Liu Wen-tsai is captured

Red political power will be handed down from generation to generation!

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