when i was up in taipei for the formoz festival, i found time to have lunch with one of my former students. he’d recently returned from a business trip to beijing and brought me back this fantastic set of mao matchboxes. i’m not sure if this former student knows the word kitsch but he certainly found some – and more importantly gave it to me.

the front of the set:

the back of the set:

the match boxes inside:

the match boxes inside(backside):

this reminds me of one of the times i was at the love and play diy market here in tainan. there was a vendor selling bags with mao on them. this old man saw them and sort of did a doubletake. he asked the woman selling them if that was mao and when she confirmed it he made a sort of face in shock and a bit of disgust. for younger generations i suspect mao is just an image, something to sort of laugh at but of course for older generations it’s a bit more (with good reason too i might add).