Watson, Ho: The Arts of China After 1620. Hardcover

  • Arts of China After 1620. Hardcover
  • by William Watson and Chuimei Ho
  • vi, 274 pages, 150 black-white and 200 colour illustrations. 2007.
The Arts of China after 1620 concludes a major three-volume survey that examines China's huge wealth of art, architecture and artefacts from prehistoric times to the present. Beginning with discussions of 'fine' art and painting and progressing to analysis of carving and sculpture, ceramics, glassware and textiles, the authors demonstrate how, in the age of the Emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong, the 'decorative' arts rose to a prominence quite unlike the western experience. Avoiding misrepresentative categorization, they single out period styles, as well as identifying repeated phases of archaism and Buddhist art, and discuss characteristic groups of jade, ivory, ceramics, glassware and textiles.

They consider the importance of the imperial workshops and their role in developing craftsmen's skills and encouraging the cross-over of techniques from different disciplines and they present the compelling influence of Emperor Qianlong's aesthetic innovations. In architecture the vast plan and overwhelming authority of the imperial buildings contrasts with the restrained subtlety of domestic architecture and garden design where magnificent rocks were the principal feature, just as in landscape painting. The survey concludes by examining the development of East/West trade and the effects of commercialization on Chinese arts and crafts.

This handsome, well-illustrated book provides a scholarly and illuminating resource for all students of the arts of China.