The odyssey of China's Imperial art treasures /
Jeannette Shambaugh Elliott with David Shambaugh.
1st ed.
Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2005.
xiii, 178 p.
0295985224 (hardback : alk. paper)
More Details
added author
Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2005.
0295985224 (hardback : alk. paper)
contents note
China's Imperial art treasures from early times to the twelfth century -- Imperial treasures under the Ming and Qing dynasties -- From private to public treasures: the early Republican era, 1911-1930 -- Treasures through times of war, 1931-1947 -- Relocating and rebuilding the Palace Museum on Taiwan -- Gugong in Beijing: national treasure and political object -- Epilogue: the politics of art.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-02-01:
Elliott (deceased) and Shambaugh (George Washington Univ.) trace the extraordinary history of the art treasures in the Chinese Imperial Collections now housed at the Forbidden City in Beijing and in the Palace Museum in Taiwan. The saga begins with the Shang dynasty (c. 1500-1050 BCE) and continues through its most dramatic period, which began with the abdication of the last emperor of the Qing dynasty in 1912 and ended with the establishment of the Palace Museum in Taiwan in 1924 and the opening of the Imperial Palace compound in Beijing in 1925. At that time, a complete inventory of the entire collection was made, benefiting the research of several generations of scholars. The authors outline in depth the miraculous growth in both quantity and quality of the imperial art collections while they were repeatedly subjected to the ravages of war, revolution, theft, dynastic upheavals, and other phenomena. The story is enriched with the personalities and events that shaped the collections over the centuries, and the details of the study provide an informative background for specialists, students, and connoisseurs. This is a fascinating and enlightening study of a little-known subject. Scholarly notes; interesting photographs. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. S. C. Scott McDaniel College
Review Quotes
"This is a helpful introduction to the tangled and absorbing story of how the magnificent Chinese palace art collection was formed, how it survived the darkest periods of the Japanese occupation, and how it ended up divided between Taipei and Beijing." Jonathan Spence, Yale University"The dramatic story of the formation and preservation of China's collection of national art treasures now preserved in the state museums of Beijing and Taipei is a true saga. It is a tale of adventure, intrigue, danger, mystery, and idealistic determination that resulted in the miraculous preservation of one of the world's greatest art collections." Richard M. Barnhart, Yale University"Jeannnette Shambaugh Elliott and David Shambaugh weave information and insights from both oral and documentary sources into a fascinating and authoritative account of the vicissitudes of this incomparably greatest of all assemblages of Chinese art." James Cahill, University of California-Berkeley"The first book-length study of the history of imperial collecting, this accessible account illuminates the vital role of the fine arts in China's political identity. The narrative of the transformation of the imperial palace and its furnishings into two great museums will fascinate both specialists and general readers." Alfreda Murck, author of Poetry and Painting in Song China
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
The Odyssey of China's Imperial Art Treasures traces the three-thousand-year history of the emperor's imperial collection, from the Bronze Age to the present. The tortuous history of these treasures involves a succession of dynasties, invasion and conquest, and civil war, resulting in valiant attempts to rescue and preserve the collection. Throughout history, different Chinese regimes used the imperial collection to bolster their own political legitimacy, domestically and internationally.The narrative follows the gradual formation of the Peking Palace Museum in 1925, its hasty fragmentation as large parts of the collection were moved perilously over long distances to escape wartime destruction, and finally its formal division into what are today two Palace Museums -- one in Beijing, the other in Taipei.Enlivened by the personalities of those who cared for the collection, this textured account of the imperial treasures highlights magnificent artworks and their arduoustransit through politics, war, and diplomatic reconciliations. Over the years, control of the collections has been fiercely contested, from early dynasties through Mongol and Japanese invaders to Nationalist and Communist rivals -- a saga that continues today. This first book-length investigation of the imperial collections will be of great interest to China scholars, historians, and Chinese art specialists. Its tales of palace intrigue will fascinate a wide variety of readers.
Table of Contents
Foreword : the saga of China's imperial collections
China's imperial art treasures from early times to the twelfth centuryp. 3
Imperial treasures under the Ming and Qing dynastiesp. 36
From private to public treasures : the early republican era, 1911-1930p. 56
The treasures through times of war, 1931-1947p. 73
Relocating and rebuilding the Palace Museum in Taiwanp. 93
The Gugong in Beijing : national treasure and political objectp. 110
Epilogue : the politics of China's imperial artp. 145
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem