The China Collection (5 Volumes). Nigel Cameron, Willy Wo-Lap Lam, Peter Moss, Tera Wiltshire.

The China Collection (5 Volumes)

FormAsia. 4 x 7.25", 5 individual volumes (details below), fully illustrated, slipcase, d.j., boards, Hong Kong, 2002-2003. Item #43871

China has long attracted outsiders awed by its accomplishments and mesmerised by its mystique. These elegant volumes investigate diverse aspects of phenomena intrinsically, essentially and unmistakably Chinese.

The China Connection includes:

Chinese Symbolism: The Sublime Language by Peter Moss

4 x 7.25", 87 pp., fully illustrated, boards, d.j., Hong Kong, 2003.

Pictograms, through which earliest mankind endeavoured to communicate, achieved their richest profusion in China, and gave rise to the world's most complex - and, many would agrue, most artistic - written language. Early Stone Age dwellers along the Yellow River left cryptic records with their images of men, dragons, deer, sun and moon, inscribed on bone and pottery.

Symbolism still lies at the core of China's ancient heritage. In which certain animals, plants and inanimate objects have long been regarded as directly linked with particular human conditions, or seem to ordain the outcome of individual endeavours. This book surveys some of the best recognised examples - not least of which are the dozen animal signs that comprise the 12 year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac.

Essence of Ancient Wisdom: Chinese Proverbs by Peter Moss

4 x 7.25", 144 pp., fully illustrated in color, boards, d.j., Hong Kong, 2003.

Confucius has become the oft-quoted fount of aphorism and analects far wider and more comprehensive in their didactic scope than any attributed to sages elsewhere in the world. But the real gems of Chinese wisdom lie in the anonymous and ageless proverbs, of which this volume contain a formidable and beautifully illustrated selection.

Classic Chinese Furniture: An Introduction by Willy Wo-Lap Lam

4 x 7.25", 151 pp., fully illustrated in color, boards, d.j., Hong Kong, 2002.

Its symmetry so delights the eye that Classic Chinese Furniture - whether genuine Ming dynasty masterpieces or well made reproductions - possesses a timeless quality that ensures it can never go out of fashion. Today it is enjoying a heightened revival of interest, both in Asia and the West. This volume celebrates the unique design and craftsmanship of Chinese furniture in the context of the evolving tastes of different generations of collectors.

It explains why choice household objects, ranging from cabinets to canopy beds, are as much a delight to behold as to use. An abundance of superb photographs illustrates a breathtaking resplendence of armchairs, beds, screens, and wardrobes, making this book in itself a collector's item for those who treasure style and grace in their home.

The Chinese Scholar's Desk by Nigel Cameron

4 x 7.25", 99 pp., fully illustrated, mostly in color, boards, d.j., Hong Kong, 2003.

To the Chinese scholar, the preparation for recording his thought was as important as the execution. On his desk lay the Four Treasures, the symbols of his calling: paper, brushes, inkslab and ink, so arranged as to inspire the best of his talent. His finely ground and watered ink was the medium for transmitting his message, his brush the conduit through which his spirit flowed on to carefully chosen paper.

Calligraphy in China ranked on a par with painting and poetry, as hallmarks of a man of accomplishment and discriminating taste. From an examination of his desk, and what was arranged upon it, one might gauge the measure of the man. Here one found, in microcosm, a treasury of the finely wrought implements that had given expression to one of the world's greatest civilisations.

Encounters with China: Merchants, Missionaries and Mandarins by Trea Wiltshire

4 x 7.25", 127 pp., fully illustrated with photographs, boards, d.j., Hong Kong, 2003.

This book spans a turbulent century of encounter that began when foreign merchants and missionaries first secured a tenuous foothold in China in the 1840s, and ends when China again retreated into self-imposed isolation following the birth of the People's Republic in 1949.

It was a century that produced a cavalcade of unforgettable characters that could well have been the inventions of fiction - the concubine who rose to power in the Forbidden City and the dapper Irishman who was her supporter and the doven of Peking's diplomatic community; the merchant princes who made fortunes by smuggling opium; the high-minded mandarins who triggered the notorious Opium War, and finally the revolutionaries whose spirit fueled the birth of 29th century China.

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