1959 'The vegetables are green, the cucumbers plumb, the yield is abundant'


Reprint poster

Great Leap Forward (1956-1960)

After the successful economic reconstruction of the early 1950s, the Party leadership headed by Mao Zedong considers the conditions ripe for a Great Leap Forward in early 1958. The Chinese people are to go all out in an effort to surpass England in 15 (or even fewer) years and to make the transition from socialism to communism at the same time. The production of steel is considered of the highest importance. All over the country, small furnaces are built. In the countryside, huge people's communes are formed. Life there is completely collectivized, including mess halls serving free food. By early 1959, it becomes clear that the campaign is a failure and that a catastrophe is at hand. In the famine of following years, thirty to forty million people die.

In the years of crop failures and famine following the Great Leap Forward, this poster with its abundant food is reprinted over and over again. A first edition of this poster is already published in 1956. The total number of copies runs to over a million.

Designer: Jin Meisheng (金梅生)
1959, February
The vegetables are green, the cucumbers plumb, the yield is abundant
Cailü guafei chanliang duo (菜绿瓜肥产量多)
Publisher: Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe (上海人民美术出版社)
Size: 77x53 cm.
Call number: BG E11/992 (IISH collection)

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