- Copyright Page
- List of Contributors
- Words or Things in American History?
- Artifacts and Their Functions
- Mastery, Artifice, and the Natural Order: A Jewel from the Early Modern Pearl Industry
- Food and Cognition: <i>Henry Norwood’s</i> A Voyage to Virginia
- On Pins and Needles: Straight Pins, Safety Pins, and Spectacularity
- Mind, Time, and Material Engagement
- Material Time
- Remaking the Kitchen, 1800–1850
- Boston Electric: Science by “Mail Order” and Bricolage at Colonial Harvard
- Making Knowledge Claims in the Eighteenth-Century British Museum
- The Ever-Changing Technology and Significance of Silk on the Silk Road
- Science, Play, and the Material Culture of Twentieth-Century American Boyhood
- The Sensory Web of Vision: Enchantment and Agency in Religious Material Culture
- Sensiotics, or the Study of the Senses in Material Culture and History in Africa and Beyond
- The Numinous Body and the Symbolism of Human Remains
- Symbolic Things and Social Performance: Christmas Nativity Scenes in Late Nineteenth-Century Santiago de Chile
- Heritage Religion and the Mormons
- From Confiscation to Collection: The Objects of China’s Cultural Revolution
- Persons and Things in Marseille and Lucca, 1300–1450
- Cloth and the Rituals of Encounter in La Florida: Weaving and Unraveling the Code
- Street “Luxuries”: Food Hawking in Early Modern Rome
- Ebony and Ivory: Pianos, People, Property, and Freedom on the Plantation, 1861–1870
- The Material Culture of Furniture Production in the British Colonies
- Material Culture, Museums, and the Creation of Multiple Meanings
- Chronology and Time: Northern European Coastal Settlements and Societies, c. 500–1050
- Materialities in the Making of World Histories: South Asia and the South Pacific
- Mapping History in Clay and Skin: Strategies for Remembrance among Ga’ anda of Northeastern Nigeria
- Remember Me: Sensibility and the Sacred in Early Mormonism
- Housing History: The Colonial Revival as Consumer Culture
- Collecting as Historical Practice and the Conundrum of the Unmoored Object
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines two categories of material culture from the People’s Republic of China: the remnants of pre-1949 “old society,” designated the “four olds” and the focus of confiscations during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), and the products of “new society,” made for socialist New China. Using archival material and oral histories, this chapter demonstrates how objects were associated with class during the Cultural Revolution. Objects and class were related in two significant ways: an object’s class category came from the labor that begat it, and—as possessions were confiscated during the Red Guards’ house searches—the class status of the owner was reflected in the object. This chapter also considers the post-Mao afterlives of everyday objects as collectors’ items and the limits on their interpretation in private museums. Both socialist and postsocialist China have found it easier to confiscate/collect objects of the past rather than to grapple with their symbolism, which has become both more powerful and more diverse than ever prescribed by revolution.
Denise Y. Ho is Assistant Professor of History at Yale University.
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