Chinese leader Mao Zedong took an active interest in radical politics from an early age, and many of his first forays into Communist thinking began in the city of Changsha where he is now honored with a massive sculptural bust of the man in his youth.
Unlike most representations of China's Great Leader, the massive sculpture built on Changsha's river-bound Orange Island remembers the controversial figure as man in the full blush of youth. With his stone hair looking as though it is playing in the wind, and the smooth features of a dashing rogue, the bust is based on Mao's look circa 1925. Usually portrayed as the elder statesman, or "helmsman" of the country, the over 100 foot statue stands out not just for its size, but also its bold presentation. This being the case, the piece was not without its critics. At an estimated cost of $300 million dollars (US) many people found the tribute wasteful. However Changsha's pride in Mao's history with the city was so great as to overcome any objections.
No matter how one feels about the great leader, or Communism in general, Changsha's towering piece of hero worship is an impressive sight and an indelible reminder of the man's continuing influence in Chinese culture.