When a 120-foot tall, golden statue of Chairman Mao Zedong was torn down recently in the Henan Province of China, the move seemed an indication of how far the once unassailable leader of the most populous nation on the planet had fallen.
In fact, it may simply be that those who choose to revere Mao prefer to do so via more modestly scaled tokens from the Great Helmsman's three-decade rule—from the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 to the ill-fated Great Leap Forward in 1958 to the Cultural Revolution of 1966.
These Mao mementos include postage stamps and currency bearing his likeness, as well as cigarette lighters, propaganda posters, textiles, enamelware, and, of course, his "Little Red Book" of quotations.
Of particular interest to some collectors are the objects produced after the chairman re-gifted a box of mangoes to a group of workers who had squelched a university uprising. Originally a gift to Mao from Pakistan's foreign minister, the mangoes were forwarded to the workers as a thank-you gift from the Chairman, spurring a short but intense period in the late 1960s when mangoes were considered an even more auspicious fruit in Chinese culture than peaches.