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       Updated:2017-12-12      Text:Large /  Medium  /  Small  

                                           Hou Bo (1924-2017) [Photo by Xu Xiaobing/Hou Bo Memorial Hall]

                        Chairman Mao at the Moscow Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties, 1957.

Recording history


Hou Bo, born in 1924, is a Chinese photographer who was among the best known photographers of Mao Zedong. She died in Beijing at 10 pm on Nov 26 at the age of 93.

Born into a poor peasant family, Hou joined the Communist Party of China at the age of 14 and learned photography during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) in order to present a better image of the Party's work to the world.

Of the 700-odd officially published photo portraits of late Chairman Mao Zedong before he died in 1976, more than 400 were taken by Hou.

Mao's children used to call her "Aunt Hou Bo". Between 1949 and 1961, Hou lived and worked in Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the Communist Party of China, as the official photographer for the central Party leaders.

Until 1961, she was the only woman photographer in Mao's film crew, documenting his public and private life.

From 1986, Hou and her photographer husband Xu Xiaobing held photo exhibitions across the country.

They were invited abroad to put on theme exhibitions in Japan, France, the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The couple also compiled and published several photo albums and autobiographies. Their photo album Road, a collection of 187 photos taken through the years, won the National Book Award.