• Title: Ancient Sichuan: Treasures from a Lost Civilization
  • Author: Robert Bagley
  • Released: 2001-05-01
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 359
  • ISBN: 0691088519
  • ISBN13: 978-0691088518
  • ASIN: 0691088519
Ancient Sichuan is the catalog of a spectacular exhibition organized by the Seattle Art Museum. Recent discoveries from Sichuan Province are revolutionizing the history of ancient China, showing that the traditional cradle of Chinese culture, along the Yellow River, had sophisticated competition from distant regions 3,000 years ago. Stately bronze trees and huge bronze heads--some with gold-foil masks, some with strange alien eyes on foot-long stalks--are the centerpieces of the show. Dating from the 12th century B.C., these exotic objects, found with elephant tusks and ritual jade weapons in two vast sacrificial pits, are artifacts of a previously unknown culture whose existence took archaeologists by surprise. These pieces alone would be sufficient for a groundbreaking exhibition, but the show and this beautifully designed catalog take the distinctive nature of local Sichuan culture into Han times, 1,000 years later. Lively ceramic sculptures of entertainers and erotic scenes on wall tiles demonstrate the creativity and exuberance of ancient Sichuan society. Essays by leading scholars in the field compellingly describe the context and significance of the often breathtaking objects. A wealth of comparative material, photographs, and drawings explains how original and different Sichuan culture was from what has long been considered the Yellow River Bronze Age mainstream. With the finds illustrated in Ancient Sichuan, the cradle of Chinese civilization begins to look like a large double bed. --John Stevenson

From Library Journal The name China means "the Center Country," and for most of the 20th century, theories concerning the history of China postulated a central culture based on the Yellow River valley and radiating out into the vast territories of what we know as modern China. Recently, brick makers digging a clay pit in a small village in the isolated Sichuan basin discovered a fabulous cache of bronze, jade, and ivory relics from an early civilization unlike any other in Chinese history. As a result, it is now theorized that the interaction of numerous coequal cultural groups may have contributed to the rise of a central Chinese identity. This thesis stands behind a visually stunning exhibition of bronze and stone artifacts from Sichuan organized by the Seattle Art Museum. This book's fine design and gorgeous photography will interest readers who may not be as tempted to plunge into the dense but readable essays delineating the history of Sichuan and the precise archaeological details of the excavations. The artifacts in this exhibition, particularly the gigantic bronze tree, the oddly stylized human masks, and the erotic bricks, are unlike any of the more familiar Chinese art objects illustrated in numerous other books. Essential for academic libraries and recommended for public collections. David McClelland, Philadelphia
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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