Shanghai, June 10 (IANS) The Chinese government asked a glass manufacturer from Shanghai to build a crystal casket for the body of China’s founding father Mao Zedong, government archive documents have revealed.
Mao Zedong (Dec 26, 1893 – Sep 9, 1976), was the leader of the Communist Party from 1935 until his death and chairman of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1959.
The Shanghai Xinhu Glass Factory received an order code-named “No.1 Task” from the central government in January 1977, four months after the death of Mao, the Shanghai Daily reported Sunday.
Around 15 documents detailed the specifications of the casket now exhibited in the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall in Beijing.
These were among 17,000 archive documents made public for the first time by the Shanghai Archives Bureau, covering a period between the 1930s and 1980s.
“All these archives, including many former confidential documents, letters and photos, are open to the public for the first time to let them better know the history of the city,” said Zhu Jihua, curator of the Shanghai Municipal Archives.
The documents on the glass casket for Mao’s body show the precise requirements.
“Crystal plates for the coffin are 88 cm long, 77 cm wide and 4 cm thick The biggest problem is to avoid bubbles and spots in the crystal,” one document said.
The coffin was finally assembled in Beijing in August 1977.
Visitors with identity cards or passports can view photocopies or original documents at the Shanghai Archives. Staffers provide translation services.
The bureau has made public 850,000 documents starting 714 A.D. to the 1980s, said Zhang Xin, categorizing department director of the archive.