3000 Years of Art and Literature
By Jason Steuber (Editor)
(Welcome Books, Hardcover, 9781599620305, 240pp.)
Publication Date: September 23, 2008
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A window into a world of extraordinary beauty and mystery, China: A Celebration in Art and Literature reveals the glorious 5,000-year-old history of this ancient and fascination culture. In 240 pages and more than 100 full-color images, this volume traces China through its tales and stories, plays and poetry, paintings and objects--from ancient divinations incised on bovine scapula to modern "people's literature" spawned from revolution; from Tang dynasty silk scrolls depicting sublime mountain valleys to government-commissioned propoganda posters. China incorporates text and images that are chornologically ordered in each of its eight thematic chapters:
Birth & Life
Nature & Environment
Love & Family
Mind & Memory
Food & Drink
War & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Death & Afterlife
Among the literary selections included are the famous Book of Songs, the epic Dream of Red Towers, the complex dramatic masterpiece The Romance of the Western Chamber, and works from Confucious, Laozi, Du Fu, and Su Shi.
More than 100 works of art from the ancient to the contemporary, by artists including Gu Kaizhi, Wang Hui, Lam Qua, and Li Keran. The majority of the images will be from top Asian art collections in the US: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in Kansas City, The De Young in San Francisco with the rest coming from Europe (the British Museum) and China.
The unique pairings of art and literature in China will enrapture as they reveal--this anthology will inevitably grip all who enter it, be they sophisticated appreciators or eager novices of China.
Over the last decade, Jason Steuber has contributed to major projects related to Chinese art, including the 1999 international loan exhibition, The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology: Celebrated Discoveries from The People's Republic of China, held at the National Gallery, Washington, DC and the 2004 two-volume set New Perspectives on China's Past: Chinese Archaeology in the Twentieth Century published by Yale University Press. As a curator for the renowned Asian art collections housed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, he has published articles in several international journals, such as Apollo, Arts of Asia, ArtAsiaPacific, The Burlington Magazine, and Gugong Wenwu Yuekan (National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art). In addition to years of university teaching experience in the United States, he was recently named the Leverhulme Trust Visiting Fellow in the Department of History of Art, Glasgow University.
"A magnificently reproduced compendium of paintings, scrolls, textiles, and other objects paired with ageless poems, dramas, and legends...illuminates the classical tradition that helped inspire a new generation of innovative and daring young artists."
--O, The Oprah Magazine
"The juxtaposition of artistic and literary works in this book presents a rare beauty. Not only is each piece of literary work accompanied by a piece of artwork from the same or nearby period, every now and then you will run into a pleasant surprise from a folded inset of exquisite painting opening to several pages.
I have a fair sized collection of English translations of ancient Chinese poetry and prose, but none is like China: 3,000 Years of Art and Literature. "This volume incorporates scholarly translations that have appeared over several centuries," editor Jason Steuber points out. The variation in translation styles is a great joy for a reader like me.
At the opening of this beautifully bound 10.5" x 14" classy book, fully spread imperial sails shoot across swirling waves on two facing pages. Seeing this famous 17th century painting so closely for the first time, its inconceivable combination of magnificent scale and meticulous detail fascinated me. Having just watched the impressive boat formation made up of thousands of sailors during the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony, I wondered whether Zhang Yimou had copied this painting."
--Xujun Eberlein, InsideOutChina.com