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Heart of China


Price: $ 39.95

"A City of Cathay" is China's most famous handscroll painting of scenes from everyday life.

Measuring 1,152 centimeters in length, it portrays over 3,000 figures, hundreds of animals, a panoply of architectural styles, more than 50 shops and shop signs, dozens of modes of transport, and nine different activities specifically associated with the springtime Qingming festival. As this vast scroll unfolds, its constantly changing scene moves from the countryside into the heart of the Northern Song capital, illustrating the lives of everyone from humble peasants to wealthy aristocracy and the imperial family. Like a movie painted on silk, the figures come to life as they act out a wealth of dramatic scenes. Within this accurate microcosm of medieval society, it is an easy matter to discover the Chinese philosophy of life. Over the nine centuries between the Northern Song and the Qing dynasty, painters of different periods continued to rework this fascinating subject and commit their own versions of it to posterity.

As its popularity spread throughout China, everyone from emperors to common townspeople demanded to have a copy or a printed reproduction of their own. As an authentic reflection of Chinese life, "A City of Cathay" has a familiar appeal that melts away the intervening centuries. If history is a mirror, here is the place to begin your search for the Chinese people's roots.

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