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  • Alternative view 1 of China
  • Alternative view 2 of China


by Ming Tan (Photographer), Guang Guo (Editor)

The 238 breathtaking color photographs in this oversized volume take us on a visual journey through the greatest splendors of China’s varied geography and the chief monuments of its 5,000-year-old civilization. These remarkable images show us the country’s most famous landmarks—like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the terra-cotta army of


The 238 breathtaking color photographs in this oversized volume take us on a visual journey through the greatest splendors of China’s varied geography and the chief monuments of its 5,000-year-old civilization. These remarkable images show us the country’s most famous landmarks—like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the terra-cotta army of the First Qin Emperor—as we have never seen them before, and provide us with a spectacular introduction to less familiar but just as fascinating attractions, like the great tulous, or earthen houses, of Fujian Province; the terraced fields of Yuanyang County; and the multicolored travertine lakes of Huanglong Valley. Extended captions at the back of the book provide a concise introduction to the history and significance of each of the forty-four locales depicted, twenty-eight of which have been designated as World Heritage sites.

This beautiful volume is not only a celebration of the natural and cultural wonders that have made China the most popular tourist destination in Asia and one of the four most popular in the world overall; it is also a collector’s item in its own right. With its oversize panoramic format, twelve gatefolds, and handsome slipcase, China is a testament to the bookbinder’s craft.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
At three feet wide, this ten-pounder of a book requires a sturdy coffee table. Appropriate background music (e.g., "Little Sisters of the Grassland," "The East Is Red," "The Yellow River Cantata") and a group of kibitzers with suitable libations will also enrich the experience of viewing the 238 stunning color images of China by Ming Tan collected here. This volume's agenda is to show the natural and built environment of that country in the most grandiose and spectacular way. There is a direct link in the artistic vision between Chinese landscape painting and these large-format digital pictures. If you thought those vertical mountains swirled with mist were artistic distortions, check out the real photos. By combining sumptuous classical landscapes, opulent interiors of temples and palaces, and dense cityscapes, editor Guang Guo (general manager, CYPI Pr.) and presumably the official cultural establishment mean to impress the rest of the world with China's natural magnificence and central place in world history. The political agenda also mandates inclusion of Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of China. The one thing that seems strange is that this is China without the Chinese people—only a tiny minority of photos have discernible humans. VERDICT Quibbles aside, these truly beautiful images (there are only 83 paragraphs of text) present the best sights of one of the world's most amazing countries. Travelers, nature gazers, and dreamers will love this book.—David McClelland, Philadelphia\

Product Details

Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
18.30(w) x 12.60(h) x 1.70(d)

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Read an Excerpt


What is China really like? It all depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, China is very ancient, and unique among world cultures, its great river of civilization has been flowing, freely and continuously, for several thousand years. On the other hand, China is very young, with its cities, towns and villages brimming with youthful energy in the midst of all the pressures of life. China looks magnificent, a land of extreme natural beauty filled with mighty mountains, great rivers and deep valleys. And China looks lovely, with elegant gardens and rural views, which speak volumes about the Chinese people’s desire for an idyllic life. China-so vast and so full of contradictions, is an existence that bear witness to the all-encompassing Chinese culture and its ideal of “Universal Harmony”.

The remote ancestors of the Chinese people left behind a wealth of gifts. The grand and glorious Yungang Grottoes evidence how Buddhist art, with distinctive Indian and Persian styles when first introduced into China, was gradually accepted and assimilated into the Chinese culture. The Temple, Cemetery, and Family Residence of Confucius, a huge architectural complex as impressive as the Royal Palace, echo the spirit of hierarchy and balance inherent in the Confucian “Doctrine of the Mean”. Amazingly splendid and majestic, the Forbidden City is known more for the grandeur and harmony of its whole architectural complex than the focus on individual buildings, featuring a clearly structured layout and well defined functions. Mysterious, magnificent or aesthetically beautiful as they are, these man-made wonders are all miracles created by the human spirit, incorporating the fundamental elements of the Chinese tradition that emphasize unity and harmony-an ethical balance and a welcoming heart that embraces all, as the sea accepts all rivers.

Some other sights in China are equally wonderful examples of harmonious coexistence between man and nature: the Yuanyang terraced fields, the result of a handshake between the power of the Earth and the strength of man; Xidi and Hongcun, a string of small towns, villages and hamlets created by the touch of human fingers as they brushed along the corners of the countryside; Suzhou classic gardens, “the man-made mountains and forests within the city wall” that serve as testimonials to man’s love and desire for harmonious coexistence with nature. The toil and activity of man added a little colour and beauty to the already gorgeous natural landscapes, a graphic illustration of the dynamic energy of Chinese culture-the world at its best: the unity of man and nature, the harmony of balance.

Mother Nature has specially favored China. China’s vast territory encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and numerous breathtaking natural wonders. And you haven’t lived until you have seen the dreamlike cloudscapes of Mount Huangshan, heard the thundering and pounding the the Three Parallel Rivers, breathed the fresh, moist air in Huanglong and Jiuzhaigou valleys, and experienced the moments of gusty winds whistling past the summit of Mount Everest. Visit these sights in person, and you will feel grateful for the rich diversity of natural resources that China has to offer.

This book is a compelling collection of 44 most representative cultural attractions and natural landscapes, including 28 World Heritage Sites, all profusely illustrated here with photographs and text. We hope that readers, while leafing through these pages, will feel not only the powerful impact of Chinese art, culture, history, tradition and geography, but also the rich legacy created by Nature and left to all of us by the Chinese ancestors. Take your time, tour the sites, and experience the stunning wonders that belong not only to China, but the whole world.

Meet the Author

Guang Guo is general manager of CYPI Press, a leading Chinese publisher.

Ming Tan is a photographer based in China.

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