Reverse Matters

The hidden side of Maozhang



Invisible to public scrutiny when worn, the reverse side is sometimes completely blank, and sometimes carries just the formulaic wish that the Chairman live for a long time. More often, the reverse names the place the badge was made and/or the organisation that issued it, together with another slogan or statement of loyalty. Many badges also carry a symbol or some other non-verbal content, usually located in the hollow behind Mao's head, which can be "read" as part of the overall "message" of a badge. In addition to their overt political content, these symbols also display an aesthetic element that no doubt appealed to the designer, and possibly also the wearer, while remaining hidden from the eyes of external observers.

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