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This magnificent volume can be enjoyed from three perspectives:-
- the contents
- the volume production
- the case in which the book is stored
The contents covers the best of Chinese painting over the last 1700 years, and demonstrates how Chinese painting was significantly superior to that in the West in the 4thC. but the Chinese style (to my mind) changed little over the next nearly two thousand years while western painting became significantly more sophisticated during the Renaissance. There are 280 pages of large plates accompanied by a simple explanation of the artist, his period and the work.
The volume is extraordinary in its production and I have no other book anything like it in my extensive library. The book is technically a paperback, but this grossly underestimates its format. The thick golden covers encloses pages that are bound by external stitching with tied threads in the ancient Chinese style. The pages are printed on only one side of the paper, BUT each page is actually twice the width of the book and folded back onto itself so each end of the page is bound into the book. Several paintings flow over the fold in the paper from one page to the next. There are also several fold out pages. The book is huge at 42cm tall.
The case is a delight, with multiple flaps folding around the book and the final closure by two toggle clasps, again in the Chinese style, and very adequately protects this valuable volume.
Those interested can see further details at the Abbeville web site -