The production of metal, and in particular iron and steel (enhanced iron), was emblematic of progress and the building of a modern society. Steel production - one of the main targets of the ill-advised Great Leap Forward - had deep socialist significance: a smith's hammer, a farmer's steel sickle, and a steel cogwheel.
The metal was a metaphor as well as a material, resonant with an ancient and elemental power. Even the model oil-hero was "Ironman" Wang, and the name Stalin was familiar to many.
Steel was a massively important material that enabled the production of picks, shovels, ships, trucks, tanks, bicycles, rifles, girders for the construction of bridges and buildings, railway tracks and electricity pylons. The simplified outline of a steel plant with its round-topped converters and sloping conveyors became a visual symbol which, like the oil wells of Daqing, was energised by Mao Zedong Thought.
Issued by the Revolutionary Committee of a Shenyang smelting plant, the red flags across the bottom carry the inscription, "Long Live the Angang Charter".
This charter was a document that summarised the revolutionary management methods developed at the Anshan Steel Company (abbreviated to Angang), which was China's largest steel plant. Because these methods, which emphasized technological innovation and worker participation, were at odds with the Soviet Russian "Ma Gang Charter" management model the document was named the Angang Charter.
h. 35mm w. 32mm 4.0g
h. 36mm w. 25mm 3.4g