Acceptable Photographs of Appropriate Communist Opera

February 26, 2013 | Marina Galperina

So, this one time, the Chinese Communist Party banned traditional Peking opera for being too bourgeois. And so, Chairman Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing developed some model operas. Photographer Zhang Yaxin was one of the few people who was allowed to have color film. He was selected to document these very proper operas of very good comrades sprinting very properly across the stage as they sing operatically, with appropriate stylizations and at an appropriate volume.

This some very rare vintage stuff. The series was on view at the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto recently. Party-approved. (Photos: Slate)