If anyone ever needed proof that my wife is a saint, look no further than our bedroom. Over the course of the past several years, I’ve slowly built a motif on my side of the bed that can only be described as a “Frida Kahlo’s deathbed” vibe. The area combines some specimens from my collection of Soviet memorabilia as well as rare books and an assortment of other icons and objects. These items are usually the last things I see each night and the first thing I see every morning. Here’s a rundown of the scene:
1. “Love” by Roy Craft, transcribed and given to me by Thomai.
2. Print of a boxer dog holding a cat (original painting by Leo Hong Mao), dated 2002; signed 2004.
3. Bas relief of Prometheus.
4. Print of Chinese Cultural Revolution-era poster entitled, “I am a petrel (seabird).”
5. Stalin era picture postcard from the Lenin Museum in Moscow, dated 1949.
6. Quotations of Chou En-lai (1967), Quotations from Chairman Mao (second ed., 1967), Marxism and the World Today by Mansoor Hekmat (1995 ed.) and other books.
7. The Wandering Jew by Eugène Sue, vols. I and II (A.L. Burt Company ed., 1900) and The Study of Dante by John Addington Symonds (1899).
8. Che Guevara portrait.
9. San La Muerte (Saint Death) statuette.
10. Selected Works of Marx and Engels (single volume edition, 1968).
11. Rare and antiquarian books, including two 19th century editions of Night Thoughts by Edward Young; a pre-revolution French edition of Night Thoughts (1769); Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore (1914) and Selected Works of Voltairine De Cleyre (original edition as published by Emma Goldman’s Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1914).
12. Cultural Revolution era portrait of Mao.
13. Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya portrait card, dated mid to late 1940s.
14. Small aluminum bust of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, dated mid 1960s.
15. “Mao at Anyuan” print.
16. Replica of monument to the heroes of Krasnodon.
17. Soviet picture post card – possibly depicting Sasha Filippov – likely dated mid 1960s.
18. Saint Alexander Nevsky icon. In 2008, following a lengthy series of presentations and several rounds of voting by hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens, The Russian television show Name of Russia named Alexander Nevsky the most notable person in Russian history. Joseph Stalin placed a close third.
19. Theotokos of Vladimir icon. At the height of the Nazi invasion of the USSR ad the Germans approached Moscow, Stalin is said to have ordered the original icon – the most venerated icon of the Russian Orthodox Church – loaded into a plane and flown around the city’s airspace nonstop in an effort to ward off the fascist hordes.
20. Selected Works of V.I. Lenin in Three Volumes, (1975).
21. Selected Works of Marx and Engels in Two Volumes (1962).
22. Capital, Volume I (Charles H. Kerr edition, 1919).
23. History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Short Course) (1939).
24. Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, vols. I through V (1965).
25. Problems of Leninism by J.V. Stalin, (1940).
26. A History of the USSR, vols. I through III (1947).
27. Frida Kahlo plush doll.
28. Karl Marx “Little Thinker” plush doll.
29. Original, Soviet-era print of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, dated between 1946 and 1955. The frame appears to be hand made with a crudely cut mat and jagged wood supports secured to the back. The back seems as if it had a good deal of dirt and mud on it in years past, as it was likely stored in a cellar or barn in the decades following the first wave of “de-Stalinization” in the USSR.