Mao as Sun
During this time, one would also frequently encounter Mao as the sun, with sunrays protruding from around his head as in this 1967 Red Guard publication. This type of image was quite ubiquitous and could be found everywhere, on porcelainware, as book illustration, on certificates and more (ill. 5.10, ill. 5.11). In these images, Mao often towers over his loving people who would appear schematized as symbols: sunflowers often inscribed with the character 忠 for loyalty, as visible on this second image, a propaganda poster (ill. 5.3).
All Mao portraits are illuminated in such a way as to imply that Mao is the primary source of light. In the more obvious cases as here, sunrays are actually emanating from his head, but his cheeks may also be shining brightly as in the oil painting turned propaganda poster of his dip into the Yangzi (ill. 5.6) or the ink painting “Yan’an’s Children” (ill. 5.8); in the more subtle cases, all surfaces that face him appear to be illuminated. In this way, slogans such as “Mao is the sun in our hearts” 毛是我们心中的太阳 are turned into visible evidence (Andrews 1994:360).