Chinese Art in Detail

Overview

For many Westerners, the words "Chinese art" evoke visions of willow pattern landscapes on porcelain plates and teapots, Chinese wallpaper decorated with flowers, birds, and pagodas, and perhaps silk brocades. This beautiful book allows readers to see beyond such ornamental exports to the true nature of the art produced in China over millennia for a Chinese audience, whether the Emperor, the scholarly elite, the ordinary folk, or the furnishing of tombs and temples.

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Overview

For many Westerners, the words "Chinese art" evoke visions of willow pattern landscapes on porcelain plates and teapots, Chinese wallpaper decorated with flowers, birds, and pagodas, and perhaps silk brocades. This beautiful book allows readers to see beyond such ornamental exports to the true nature of the art produced in China over millennia for a Chinese audience, whether the Emperor, the scholarly elite, the ordinary folk, or the furnishing of tombs and temples.

Drawing on the British Museum's extensive collection, Chinese Art in Detail explores the traditional hierarchy of materials and techniques reaching back as far as the Han Dynasty in the third century B.C.—with calligraphy and painting most revered, followed by jades and bronzes, decorative arts such as lacquer, porcelain, and silk, and, finally, sculpture for religious and funerary use. Images of complete artifacts set against magnified details give readers the rare opportunity to appreciate the delicacies of technique and material that characterize much of Chinese art—and distinguish one form, as well as one period, from another. Illuminated throughout by two scholars thoroughly and deeply versed in the history and character of the works under scrutiny, this sumptuously illustrated book conveys an understanding of Chinese art in all its great variety, its simplicities, its complexities, its splendors, and its mysteries of craft and inspiration reaching back to Neolithic times.

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Editorial Reviews

Bloomsbury Review - H. Berry
Vivid and crisp illustrations and clear texts make each entry in the thematically organized volume come to life. The glossary, chronology, and list of further reading make[s] [Chinese Art in Detail] particularly helpful for novices, but the rich full-color images will charm aficionados as well. The authors are experts from the British Museum and communicate their knowledge and enthusiasm well...[It] will reward repeated reading and viewing.
Globe and Mail
With its rich photos, this book explores the hierarchy of materials and techniques in Chinese art and is divided into chapters on art for the tomb, temple, court, elite, and the masses. Drawing on the British Museum's collection, the authors, who both work in the museum's Chinese collections, provide images of artifacts coupled with magnified details for better examination.
Bloomsbury Review

Vivid and crisp illustrations and clear texts make each entry in the thematically organized volume come to life. The glossary, chronology, and list of further reading make[s] [Chinese Art in Detail] particularly helpful for novices, but the rich full-color images will charm aficionados as well. The authors are experts from the British Museum and communicate their knowledge and enthusiasm well...[It] will reward repeated reading and viewing.
— H. Berry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674023895
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2006
  • Series: Art in Detail Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,437,423
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Michaelson is an Assistant Keeper in the Department of Asia in the British Museum, where she is responsible for the Chinese collections. Her publications include Gilded Dragons, Chinese Love Poetry, and the award-winning British Museum Book of Chinese Art.

Jane Portal is an Assistant Keeper in the Department of Asia in the British Museum, where she is responsible for the Chinese collections. Her publications include Gilded Dragons, Chinese Love Poetry, and the award-winning British Museum Book of Chinese Art.

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