Cultural Revolution

The Cultural Revolution was a social-political movement inspired by communist ideology that took place in China between 1966 and 1976, and aimed to rid the country of its middle classes

Mao Zedong (commonly referred to as Chairman Mao, the communist founding father of the People’s Republic of China which he governed from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976) believed the intelligentsia were trying to restore capitalism to China.

He instigated a drive to enforce communism and remove capitalist, traditional and cultural elements from Chinese society. Historical relics and artefacts considered anti-socialist or too closely associated with the old order were destroyed. Museums, art galleries, theatres and art educational establishments were closed down and many artists were persecuted and prevented from working. The only art acceptable during this time was that which promoted the benefits of socialism.

Related glossary terms

Social realism