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Mao Zedong`s golden seated statue
DECEMBER 17, 2013 00:23  
Various events are being held ahead of the 120th anniversary day (December 26) of the birth of China`s former communist leader Mao Zedong. A golden seated statue was set up at Shenzen in Guangdong Province. Eight centimeters tall and weighing 50 kilograms, the statue is made with gold and white jade, which cost 100 million yuan (16.47 U.S. million dollars). It took eight months for 20 artists to make it, yet who ordered it is unknown.

The golden seated statue has long been dedicated to the most valuable person. The gilt bronze statues in Southeast Asia and Golden Statue of Virgin Mary in European cathedrals were used to embody god. Gold is a tool that shows the authority of ancient royal family. At the "Shilla, Korea`s Golden Kingdom" exhibition that will be held through February next year at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Gilt Bronze Contemplative Bodhisattva, golden crown, golden belt and golden earring are gaining popularity.

Chinese people are especially fond of gold. The moon cakes eaten at Chinese Thanksgiving and roses on Valentine`s Day are made by using gold. The famous house whose interior is made with 2.5 tons of gold, and a book that decorated all pages in gold also come from China. The golden seated statue in China came to birth from mammonism. Mao Zedong became a communist when young and succeeded in China`s socialist revolution. It is interesting that he who caused a massive cultural revolution by spurring young Red Guards after the national foundation is worshipped as a god bringing wealth after China`s reform and opening.

Mao Zedong freed China`s 1.3 billion population from hierarchical society, but many researchers recently compare him with Emperor Qin Shi Huang who is widely known as a tyrant. They compare Zedong`s China reunification with Qin Shi Huang`s first-time China reunification, and Zedong`s introduction of Chinese character with the emperor`s character standardization. In modern society, golden statues are deeply connected to autocratic state. President and dictator Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan in Central Asia set up a golden statue to seek idolization of himself. Another despotic nation North Korea also has many golden statues idolizing lineage of the Kim family.

Editorial Writer Shin Yeon-soo (ysshin@donga.com)

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