The Future is Bright & You Should Make Money

“The Gods of wealth enter the home from everywhere, wealth, treasures and peace beckon.” Zhongguo huabao chubansheg. 1993.

As I skimmed through the posters hosted on Chinese Posters site, this poster immediately caught my eye. It is exceptionally brightly colored (even among its primary-heavy compatriots) and the combination of dancing babies and old Confucian men made me look twice as I scrolled by. This poster was certainly good at making the viewer notice it. And once I’d started looking, the imagery kept me looking. This poster harkens back to the “old, confucian ways” – the old men in the background are smiling and happy, and also clearly well off.  All three men have Fu Manchu beards and are wearing clothing representative of Qing Court robes. The three men seem to represent the three stages of being a man; a young man to the left, a middle-aged man in the center, and a old man to the right. All hold fancy-looking objects, and all are smiling towards the viewer. Their bright colors lenda festive air to their countenance, and the middle-aged and older man both are wearing red robes; red is lucky, but also, in this case, might also be trying to lend a communist air to these overtly confucian men. The babies in the center also seem to symbolise prosperity; they are fat, smiling, and jolly. More importantly, they also carry money on top of a  pot of what appear to be jewels in their cubby little hands. Yen are placed on top of the American Dollar, and Chairman Mao’s face is in the center of the image. All of this points to prosperity – making money will gratify your ancestors, and make you a good communist and chinese citizen. Moreover,  wealth is being bestowed bestowed on China. The Gods of Wealth, the three men, are smiling down on China. China shall be prosperous, the poster says, and this is a good thing. To be rich is glorious, Deng Xiaoping said. This poster heartily agrees.

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