Whatever the truth of the matter - it is chiefly the degree of resistance encountered that is debated - the crossing under fire of the Luding Bridge by an assault team of the Red Army on 29th May 1935 became enshrined as the single most heroic action of the Long March. Made from iron chains and wooden planking, (although at the time most of the planking had been removed by GMD forces on the western bank), the bridge still stretches 100 metres across and 20 metres above the Dadu River in central Sichuan.
The narrative of Luding Bridge - a difficult obstacle overcome and victory achieved through the brave and determined action of a small group of warriors - played well with the propagandists of New China. Images of the battle for the bridge, or of the bridge itself, featured on posters and stamps, as well as in illustrated books and on Maozhang.
h. 35mm w. 33mm 4.5g
The chains of the Luding Bridge link Zunyi and Yan'an with Jinggangshan in the background. Above this symbolic Long March landscape is Snow's 1936 version of Mao set against the flag of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.
h. 62mm w. 58mm 15.3g
Detail from volume 3 of Shen Yayoi's award-winning lianhuanhua Red Ribbon on the Earth, based of WeiWei's 1987 novel of the same name.
h. 42mm w. 40mm 6.2g
see also: Long March