upcoming exhibitions

Mao’s Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution

September 18, 2014 – April 26, 2015

Around half a century ago during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, China was in a political “mango-fever.” In 1968, after receiving a basket of mangoes as a gift from the visiting Pakistani foreign minister, Mao Zedong distributed the fruit to the “Worker-Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams.” It was considered the turning point in the Cultural Revolution from student-leading to worker-peasant-leading. Since then, mangoes, an unusual golden fruit at that time in China, became a temporary political symbol of Chairman Mao’s benevolence and love for the people. Illustrations and photos of mangoes appeared in publications, paintings, posters and badges, as well as on everyday objects such as mirrors, quilt covers and enamelware. Wax mango models were displayed in glass boxes to express respect and esteem for Mao, along with his quotations printed in red on the cases. By showcasing over 60 mango-related objects, Mao’s Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution will explore how art and politics interacted with each other during this period.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum Rietberg Zürich, and is curated by Alfreda Murck and Alexandra von Przychowski.


This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of China Institute Friends of the Gallery.


Poster, 1968, color printing on paper,
53 x 68.3 cm, courtesy of Museum Rietberg Zürich