This book is concerned with the representation and reception of visual culture from the Chinese Cultural Revolution. A full analysis of that period of Chinese history is beyond its scope. A broad overview of the decade, particularly in respect of the arts and culture is, however, essential. The arts were visual weapons in Mao Zedong’s ideological arsenal. At the outset a play gifted him an apparently serendipitous opportunity to manoeuvre against his political rivals, reassert his political influence and test the revolutionary resolve and loyalty of the Chinese people. Culture was to become a battlefield,1 in Galikowski’s words, the ‘point of breakthrough’, from which he would set about reforming the bourgeois ideas of the Chinese intelligentsia.2