PIC­TURE ALBUM

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

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

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