What Do I Hear for Mao's Head?

The original portrait of the founder of the People's Republic is up for auction

Mao Zedong's unsmiling visage inspired Andy Warhol and adorns China's currency. Now the original portrait of the founder of the People's Republic is--heresy!--going under the hammer in Beijing on June 3. Painted in 1950 by art-school instructor Zhang Zhenshi, the image was reproduced and distributed across China--and was the model for the portrait that still looms over Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

The painting is being sold by a Chinese-American collector. Auction firm Huachen, which downplays the piece's historical significance, describes Mao's expression in the portrait as "amiable." That's probably not how Mao would feel if he found out about the sale. All...

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