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December 3, 2014

When Chou En Lai was asked what he thought of the French Revolution he allegedly replied “it’s too early to say”.

However others are willing to make a judgment on history.
Chinese artists Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An painted a fascinating panorama of 103 persons in 2006 they considered famous. The selection reflects their point of view. It contains many more Chinese and Asian figures than might figure in an American choice. It is understandably a Sinocentric view of the world; where Hitler strikes an indifferent pose but it is Hideki Tojo who is singled out for torment. Movie stars and sports stars have more prominence than would be expected. It’s cavalcade of fame as seen from the international news pages.

Since the painting was done in 2006 there is one conspicuous omission. Is it a fatal shortcoming? And have the artists failed to anticipate the most significant historical figure of all?

Belmont Club » Three Portraits

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 3, 2014 11:17 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

This may be an overhyped quote:

"During Richard Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972, the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, was asked about the impact of the French Revolution. Speaking of an event that took place nearly two centuries previously, Zhou famously commented that it was "too early to say". The witticism quickly became a standard way of emphasising the Chinese ability to take the long view in history.

Yet it seems that Zhou may not have correctly understood the question. Rather than referring to the 1789 revolution, his interlocuter was speaking of the events of May 1968, and the Chinese leader's comment was directed toward those far more recent developments. As reported in the Financial Times, a diplomat present at the time called it a misunderstanding that was "too delicious to invite correction". The story became legendary, and a rather lazy cliche about the difference between Chinese and Western mentalities entered the public discourse.

Though the quip may have been debunked, will it disappear from use? As Zhou might have appreciated: it's simply too early to say."


Posted by: Punditarian [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 3, 2014 8:42 PM

Gee, that picture is kinda like the Sargent Pepper album cover, no?

Posted by: chasmatic [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 3, 2014 10:18 PM

Si! Masters of imitation these orientals.

Posted by: Van der Leun [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 3, 2014 11:17 PM

Wait until the Obama sycophants get their crayons; they'll want to add the Lightbringer to the image.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2014 5:03 AM

Its so restful looking at the painting and remembering the world before the Creature appeared.

Posted by: pbird [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2014 7:56 AM

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