The Chinese Art Book – 6000 Years of Chinese Art


Liao Dynasty

The Chinese Art Book brings a new introduction to the art of one of the world’s oldest civilisations. A collaboration of 300 artworks from the Neolithic period to the 21st century, The Chinese Art Book opens the door to 6000 years of Chinese art.

Ancient, modern and contemporary works are positioned for the first time side by side to create fascinating combinations. Concise descriptive texts accompany each entry and provide readers with the opportunity to discover the breadth and complexity of Chinese culture.



From painting, calligraphy, ceramics and bronzes, to contemporary installations, photography and performance art, The Chinese Art Book includes examples of every form of visual art, illustrating China’s historical role as one of the most sophisticated and visually rich cultures in the world. An informative introductory essay by Colin Mackenzie, together with a comprehensive glossary and illustrated timeline, helpfully place the works in their political and cultural contexts.

Demonstrating China’s unique position as the oldest continuous civilisations on earth, the works in The Chinese Art Book show how artistic traditions, and especially a genius for exploiting varied materials such as ceramics, silk, paper, bronze and jade, continue to connect the past with the present.

Today, we see an energetic embrace of new forms and methods flourishing alongside a renewed appreciation for the skills exhibited by China’s artists of the past–but also heated discussion and resistance to these links.  It is this dynamic of continuity, innovation and debate, that has guided the selection and arrangement of the works in The Chinese Art Book. 

Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze

Sun Xun

Sun Xun


ISBN-13: 9780714865751

Colin Mackenzie (Introduction) is Senior Curator of Chinese Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. He has published widely on early Chinese art and archaeology and has contributed to such influential exhibitions as ‘The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology’ at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (1999), and ‘Masterpieces of Song and Yuan Paintings from American Collections’ at the Shanghai Art Museum (2012).

Keith Pratt (painting and calligraphy to 1949) is Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Durham. He has written numerous books and articles on Korean and Chinese history and art, including Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea (2007), and Korean Painting (1995).

Jeffrey Moser (plastic arts to 1949) is Assistant Professor of East Asian Art History at McGill University, Montreal. Before moving to Canada he held positions at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan and as Assistant Professor of Art History at Zhejiang University, where he oversaw the design of the university’s future Museum of Art and Archaeology.

Katie Hill (contemporary art after 1949) is Director of the Office of Contemporary Chinese Art, Deputy Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, and consultant lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She was a panel member for ‘Art of Change: New Directions from China’, an exhibition of contemporary Chinese artists at the Hayward Gallery, London (2012), and has curated exhibitions in China and the UK.

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