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Ancient Sichuan:
Treasures from a Lost Civilization
Edited by Robert Bagley

Honorable Mention for the George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award

Hardcover | 2001 | $97.50 / £68.00 | ISBN: 9780691088518
360 pp. | 9 3/4 x 12 | 248 color plates, 23 halftones, 237 line illus. | SHOPPING CART

Reviews | Table of Contents

This extraordinary catalogue accompanies a major traveling exhibition of 128 works of bronze, jade, and clay dating from the thirteenth century B.C. to the second century A.D. The majority of these stunningly sophisticated works of art--among the most unusual and spectacular produced anywhere in the ancient world--all come from a startling archaeological discovery made just fourteen years ago at the previously unknown site of Sanxingdui in Sichuan province. The discovery of this Bronze Age civilization fundamentally changes our understanding of Chinese history.

Representing fifteen hundred years of cultural production, these striking objects are extraordinarily varied, ranging from a monumental standing figure and an almost life-size bronze horse to ritual vessels, masks, and bronze heads of fantastic-looking supernatural beings, finely honed jade knives and ritual blades, and marvelous clay statuettes. Most have never before been seen in the United States. The exhibition and catalogue represent a unique international effort to continue the study of ancient Sichuan.

Under the leadership of Robert Bagley, an international team of scholars contributes eight essays on the archaeological discoveries at Sanxingdui, the art historical importance of these objects, and the new history of ancient China they tell. Contributors are Michèle Pirazzoli-t'Serstevens, Jessica Rawson, Lothar von Falkenhausen, Alain Thote, Jenny F. So, Michael Nylan, and the Seattle Art Museum's Curator of Chinese Art, Jay Xu. In addition to the essays, there are individual entries for each object, nearly all of which have been newly photographed for this publication.

Ancient Sichuan contributes to a revolutionary change in perceptions of ancient Chinese civilization, providing an unprecedented opportunity to explore the art, material culture, and spiritual life of ancient China.


Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
May-August 2001

Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth
September 2001-January 2002

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
March-June 2002

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
August-November 2002


"This book's fine design and gorgeous photography will interest readers."--Library Journal

"This well-made . . . book . . . documents the principal excavations and offers full-color photographs of some of the most spectacular finds. . . . Students and collectors of Asian art will enjoy browsing through this richly illustrated catalog."--Gregory McNamee, Bloomsbury Review

Beautifully and profusely illustrated in color with many black-and-white photographs and diagrams, this volume documents a need for the reassessment of China's ancient art history. . . . A splendid book."--Choice

Table of Contents:

Director's Preface by Mimi Gardner Gates 8
Curator's Acknowledgements by Jay Xu 10
Editor's Preface by Robert Bagley 12
Map of China 14
Map of Sichuan 16
Map of Chengdu Region 18
Introduction Part I: Sichuan before the Warring States Period by Jay Xu 21
Chapter 1.Bronze at Sanxingdui by Jay Xu 59
Chapter 2. Jade and Stone at Sanxingdui by Jenny F. So 153
Chapter 3. The Chengdu Plain in the Early First Millenium BC: Zhuwajie by Lothar von Falkenhausen 177
Chapter 4. The Archaeology of Eastern Sichuan at the End of the Bronze Age (Fifth to Third Century BC) by Alain Thote 203
Chapter 5. Tombs and Tomb Furnishings of the Eastern Han period (AD 25-220) by Jessica Rawson 253
Afterword: The Legacies of the Chengdu Plain by Michael Nylan 309
Appendix: Additional Exhibition Information
Chinese Character Glossary by Jennifer Chen 329
List of Works Cited 333
Contributors 349
Index 351

Subject Areas:

Copublished with the Seattle Art Museum

Bird Head
Bird Head, Bronze,
Late Shang,
ca. 1200 BC
Click to Enlarge

Squatting Drummer
Squatting Drummer,
Ceramic, Eastern
Han dynasty,
1st-3rd century AD
Click to Enlarge

Horse and Groom
Horse and Groom,
Bronze, Eastern
Han dynasty,
1st-3rd century AD
Click to Enlarge

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  • For hardcover/paperback orders:

    For hardcover/paperback orders in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

    Hardcover: $97.50 ISBN: 9780691088518

    For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India

    Hardcover: £68.00 ISBN: 9780691088518

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 7/11/2014

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