This book is a rare feat: seldom is an art history--much less an ambitious, 400-page chronicle of one of the great cultural achievements of the last three millennia--as much a delight for the amateur lover of art as it is indispensable for the student of the field. Written by three eminent specialists in the United States and three in China, Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting
combines the best of both countries' scholarly approaches with new discoveries and illustrations of numerous paintings located in China and previously little known abroad.
Insightful, often lively discussions tell the story in six chapters, mostly dynastic, after briefly giving two "approaches" to Chinese painting. History, politics, biography, and training get their proper due and are complemented by often-detailed analyses of individual artworks. Close attention to the text and the 300 color and 25 black-and-white illustrations enable the reader to "see" these paintings--which are often constructed on different perceptual and cultural premises than the post-Renaissance and photographic images by which most Westerners structure their visual vocabulary. The glossary and other tools are welcome aids; the list of artists is organized by period and offers their names in the two most common romanization systems as well as in Chinese characters. And to read James Cahill on the Ni Zan paintings that may at first appear uninviting, or Lang Shaojun on the proportionally numerous 20th-century painters, is a real adventure for both the eye and the mind.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in one of the world's most esteemed art traditions--be they a Sunday museumgoer or a confirmed lover of the gnarly pines set amidst the towering mountains of the Song-period masters--will want this book in their library. --Joseph N. Newland
From Library Journal
In this major work of scholarship, six top China scholars from the United States and China present their varied assessments as well as a panoramic view on the development of Chinese pictorial arts grounded in Chinese cultural tradition and artistic practice. Through analyzing masterpieces from Neolithic painted petroglyphs, early paintings on silk, and landscapes by 12th-century literati to traditional handscrolls created in modern times, the authors showcase the riches of Chinese pictorial heritage. Comprehensively covering mainstream traditional Chinese paintings, they also touch upon often neglected areas such as women artists and works featuring common people, though folk paintings are not mentioned. The inclusion of more than 250 stunningly beautiful color plates and 75 black-and-white reproductions make this one of the most complete and best-illustrated works on the topic of Chinese pictorial art available to both general readers and scholars. The inaugural volume of a projected 75-volume series on Chinese culture, this is highly recommended for all academic and larger public libraries.?Lucia S. Chen, NYPL
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.