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  • Chinese dictator Mao Zedong’s notes will auction
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • aroundauctionbeijingbookschinesedihomeincludeinterestlumanuscriptmaonotespoetrywriting

Chinese dictator Mao Zedong’s notes will auction

Sotheby’s is offering a page of notes on classical poetry in the hand of Chinese dictator Mao Zedong.

It’s expected to reach £60,000-80,000 ($76,584-102,113) at the July 11 auction in London.

Mao Zedong notes

Mao Zedong was in his 80s by the mid-1970s and sometimes had to write to be understood

Mao had a lifelong interest in poetry. In 1918 he moved from his family home in the sticks to Beijing, where he took up a position at the Peking University library.

He began writing his own poetry around this time.

During the Chinese civil war (1927-1946) he had the pockets of his military jackets enlarged so he could carry his books around.

US diplomat Henry Kissinger said of Mao’s home: "Manuscripts lined bookshelves along every wall; books covered the table and the floor; it looked more the retreat of a scholar than the audience room of the all-powerful leader of the world’s most populous nation".

Mao's chief interest was in traditional Chinese poetry.

These notes originate from a series of meetings with an expert from Beijing University named Di Lu in the mid-1970s.

At the time Mao was well into his old age and his eyesight was failing. Di Lu was brought in to read to him.

Mao was also having difficulty speaking, so turned to writing to express himself  

These notes feature his thoughts on some of the poems he and Di Lu were studying, including some words on their relevance to the modern day.

Manuscripts in Mao's hand are extremely rare and this piece looks primed to sell for substantially over estimate.

In 2015, a typed, signed letter from Mao addressed to British Labour party leader Clement Attlee sold for £605,000 ($771,980) - more than four times its valuation. 

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • aroundauctionbeijingbookschinesedihomeincludeinterestlumanuscriptmaonotespoetrywriting