Document Type

Honors Paper


Sayumi Harb

Publication Date



Propaganda posters have been one of many forms of political media used by modern governments such as the United States, Russia, England, and China, to spread a message across a large area to a wide audience. The popularity of the use of propaganda posters has sparked an interest in the study of posters. China has a long and varied history of the use of posters and propaganda posters. Pre-1949 propaganda posters, especially during the revolutionary period, used woodblock prints with stark lines and deep bright colors. Woodblock prints often employed yellow and red backgrounds to accent the black figures in the poster. In the early 1950s bright colors and realistic scenes and figures reminiscent of the previous generation of calendar posters were common. The influence of idealism can be seen in the larger-than-life industrial production and farming scenes and the healthy and Chinese citizens in the posters. The 1960s continued many of the same techniques of the 1950s but displayed a less obvious visual connection with calendar posters. Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) posters saw a dramatic artistic shift. Figures became less realistic looking and bright colors and intricate scenes were replaced with simple and clear backgrounds and messages. The Cultural Revolution also saw the return of the woodblock print; this time period produced many visually interesting red and black woodblock print posters.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.