For more than a thousand years Chinese silks and porcelains have been coveted and sought by peoples around the world, their extraordinary fine textures and brilliant colours surpassing anything attained elsewhere.
This book describes the origins of these achievements and sets them in their wide context, illustrating other arts such as lacquer, cloisonné and glass. Paradoxically, the arts valued most in China are not those esteemed by foreigners. Calligraphy, ink painting, jades and bronzes have always stood high in Chinese eyes and still do today. This introduction explain why and, in exploring the history of Chinese art, enhances our appreciation of the diversity of Chinese art forms. The wealth of illustrations, drawn primarily from the rich collections of British Museum, include familiar blue and white Ming ceramics as well as less well known jades of the neolithic period and paintings on silk from the Buddhist caves at Dunhuang.; Winner of the National Book Art Book Prize in 1992; "The most lucid and authoritative introduction to Chinese culture available in English (.) a model of how the story of a civilization can be told from a great collection”" Commendation by the judges; "“Succeeds in making the reader want to visit Shanghai and Bloomsbury simultaneously" Neil MacGregor, Director, National Gallery.
Published by British Museum Press, 1992
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