Reference Materials for Artists, 1973

A booklet of black-and-white line-drawings designed to serve as models for artists during the Cultural Revolution. It was first issued by the Shanghai People’s Publishing House in in 1965. The version shown here is a revised edition with the same title, published in 1973, which includes figures from revolutionary operas.

The booklet has five main sections. Revolutionary opera figures are the sole subject of the first section, ending at page 17. The second section, pages 20-51, consists of figures of everyday people – workers and peasants – as well as soldiers depicted in poses relevant to their jobs, such as smelting, cooking, and assembling machine guns. The figures on pages 45-51 show people standing side-by-side, with one is pointing off to the right into the distance, a feature reminiscent of Soviet socialist realism. The third section, from pages 52-75, features members of the army and the militias, including two pages showing members of the People’s Volunteer Army. The fourth section, from pages 76 to 91, features people of different professions, including students, ping-pong players, and others. The last section shows members of various “minority nationalities” in characteristic poses or using relevant tools and instruments as they carry out their traditional activities.

All of these figures are meant to leave people with a positive impression. No class enemies appear in the booklet. Some figures appear to be of young people sent to rural areas to engage in manual labour, while others show Red Guards.

Sample thumbnail images from the booklet

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Selected full-size images from the booklet


Above: Revolutionary opera figures


Above: Agricultural workers

Above: Figures of workers from various professions
Above: Ethnic minority figures

Ref: 1-23