"We do not aim in this book at doing more than supply a very short introduction to the history of Chinese Art and a series of illustrations of each period of that history. Such is the long and complicated development of the various branches of the Arts which have thrived in China, that it would not be possible in a hundred and forty plates to give anything but the briefest glimpse of a civilization which has so many sides, and our selection of those plates must therefore be arbitrary and leave many gaps. In the same way our introductory essay only skims the surface of the subject, though the notes to the plates contain more detailed supplementary information. But the arrangement of so many Western museum having been based on a principle of division by material, and the system of all books on Chinese Art written in English having hitherto followed that principle, we have thought it worth while to put together a sequence of illustrations by periods; for there can be no question but that the appreciation of the culture of a particular epoch depends, to a large extent, on the inter-relation of the various branches of Art, and their dependence on the intellectual and material standards of that epoch. It is easier, therefore, to get some insight into the importance of the particular period, with which one is concerned, by a small group of plates showing picked pieces of the highest quality in every branch of the Arts, than by having to pursue the thread of one's investigation through a series of chapters dealing with various materials. Our selection has been governed to a certain extent by the fact that there are no coloured plates in this book. The examples of Sung ceramics, for instance, have been chosen primarily with a view to their form, and it is for this reason that the tz'u chou wares are more strongly represented than their more aristocratic cousins the chun, ko or kuan yao, while the most famous of all, ju yao, does not appear at all. For the same reason we have reproduced very few jades and no example of eighteenth-century self colour porcelain. The selection of paintings and the accompanying notes are by Mr. Basil Gray; of the remainder and their notes by Mr Leigh Ashton; in the introductory matter the same division holds good." excerpt from the preface.
Published by Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1935 | Hardcover
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