The Seventy Wonders of China Edited by Jonathan Fenby (Thames & Hudson, $75) THIS is everything that could be expected from this respected publisher of art books, in a compact, 300-page, illustrated encyclopedia format. It has 370 illustrations, most in colour, and historic China is so photogenic.
The book celebrates the glories of China: mountainous scenery, terraced agricultural hillsides, the cliff-face Buddhist carvings at Dazu, Beijing’s Forbidden City and Summer Palace, and the small-town canal houses of Suzhou. Art features heavily and it is the art of the past: treasures and relics such as the terracotta warriors, the Great Wall, jade, porcelain, painting and calligraphy. Living art is represented by acrobats and food, the transformation of the Olympics, modern city streets, Beijing’s newest buildings, the artwork that is Shanghai. Medicine, science and astronomy are museum topics.
Some problems, such as negative aspects of the Three Gorges Dam, are very briefly mentioned, but this is hardly a political book. Judith Elen