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A complete and essential overview of China's marvels in all areas, from the natural world to inventions to artistic and architectural achievements.As China emerges as a great world economic power, this book shows what makes it such a special country and civilization, with topics ranging from the natural wonders of mountains and rivers to the Silk Road, from the arts and great monuments of the past to the booming cities of today.China's artistic achievements are unparalleled in scope. Calligraphy, jade, silk, ceramics, lacquer work, paintings, bronzes, furniture, and gardens are dealt with in highly expert but succinct entries. Monuments like the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Great Wall are celebrated around the world, but the book also presents lesser-known yet breathtaking buildings, palaces, tombs, and monasteries.The marvels of China touch on everyday life too. The Chinese invented gunpowder, paper, printing, and the compass, as well as such objects as umbrellas and playing cards. China's food is also celebrated in these pages in all its diversity, as is the heritage of the imperial system that ruled the Middle Kingdom for more than two thousand years.The individual entries are written by experts from leading academic institutions in Asia and the West, including Robert Ash, Fucshia Dunlop, Alison Hardie, Erling Hoh, Ronald Knapp, Vivienne Lo, Victor Mair, Shane McCausland, Carol Michaelson, Ann Paludan, Lei-Lei Qu, Nathan Sivin, Nancy Steinhardt, Shelagh Vainker, Frances Wood, Ni Yibin, and Zhang Yinglan. 320 illustrations, 250 in color.