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Asia Week New York Reading List, Part I: Chinese Art

We asked some of our participants for their favorite Asian art-related books—both fiction and non-fiction. For Part I of our reading list, we are focusing on China and Chinese art. We hope you'll find inspiration in these pages. These are all available on Amazon, but do support your local bookstore if you can!

The British Museum Book of Chinese Art
by Jessica Rawson

The staff at J. J. Lally & Co.  say this is “the best book for the general reader looking for a good overview of the basics of Chinese art and culture, and an excellent resource for scholars. The essays are well-written and accompanied by beautiful color illustrations. Even though the book was published over 20 years ago, the scholarly research still stands today and provides a reliable outline of the history of Chinese art.”

A Cup of Light
by Nicole Mones

Recommended by Carol Conover, director of Kaikodo LLC, this novel centers on Lia Frank, an American appraiser of Chinese porcelain. “When she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways…coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery,” reads the synopsis.

Our Great Qing: The Mongols, Buddhism, and the State in Late Imperial China
by Johan Elverskog

Michael Hughes recommends this history book, which provides an “insightful analysis of the principal changes that Mongolian concepts of community, rule, and religion underwent from 1500 to 1900 while offering new insights into Qing and Buddhist history,” reads the synopsis.

The China Collectors: America's Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures
by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac

Lark Mason of iGavel Auctions calls it “a very interesting insight into the early years of collecting by Americans.”

Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northwest China
by Annette L. Juliano and Judith A. Lerner

The staff at J. J. Lally & Co.  recommend this title, describing it as “a catalogue of an excellent exhibition of ancient Chinese, Central Asian and Middle Eastern art and artifacts all found in China. The beautifully illustrated book shows many famous sculptures, including rarities not well published anywhere else. In the wide-ranging catalogue essays by Annette Juliano, Judith Lerner and five other scholars, the story of the mercantile and cultural interaction across great distances over the now famous ‘Silk Road’ is presented in a work of high scholarship. Fascinating to read.”

Read our other book recommendations:

Asia Week New York Reading List, Part II: Japanese Art
Asia Week New York Reading List, Part III: Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art