Time-Life Great Ages of Man Series – Ancient China.
PLEASE SEE IMAGES BELOW FOR JACKET DESCRIPTION(S) AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK.
DESCRIPTION: Hardcover: 191 pages. Publisher: Time-Life Books Inc; (1967). The “Great Ages of Man” series was released in the mid-1960’s. Each volume undertakes to describe the major events that happened in one specific time period (or “age”) in the development of mankind’s civilization(s). The volumes are richly illustrated, and designed as an introduction to the time frame covered. Especially compelling are the artists interpretations or recreations of what various ancient civilizations would have looked like – their architecture, homes, monuments, cities, daily life, jewelry, food, family life, dwellings, occupations, etc. As just one instance, the ruins of Babylon and Ur, Athens and Rome hint at the incredible richness of those fabled cities. The artist’s recreations in this series are simply mind-numbing. This is as close as you can be to actually having been there. Equally noteworthy are the photographic collections of artifacts and relics attributed to the specific age, really exceptional.
The entire series is truly a magnificent introduction to the history of the era. If you could have just one book (or series of books) to introduce the history of humankind, this would have to be it. The overviews are concise and well-written. Together with the illustration and pictures they impart a wonderful mental and emotional “picture” of what life must have been like in various civilizations and at various times. Done in a style so wonderfully characteristic of Time-Life’s publications, these are over-sized “coffee table” type books full of impressive imagery. The pictures of the world’s greatest art and architecture alone are worth the cost of these books. But don’t get the impression that these volumes are “fluff”. While a particular volume might not quite take the place as a university degree, the material is well-written, informative, and immensely intellectually gratifying, overview though it might be. This particular volume is titled “Ancient China”, and serves as a remarkably well illustrated introduction to the inward-looking world of ancient China.
This particular volume is entitled, “Ancient China”. Some of the subject material included is enumerated below so as to give you an idea of the rich content. The material is divided into eight chapters:
“The Middle Kingdom” (Introduction: From 1,500 B.C. Shang to 900 A.D. Tang – The Sovereign Fu His: China’s First Wise Man and Diviner – The Middle Kingdom of Hua – A Shang Three-Legged “Monster” Bronze Cauldron – Yellow Earth and Yellow River – The Kings of Shang – 1,000 B.C. New Masters: The War-Like Chou – Confucius and China’s Classical Age – To the North the Mounted Warrior Pedecessors of the Mongols, Manchus, and Turks – To the South the P’an-hu Dog People – The Southern “Wu” Region – The “Warring States” – The Ch’in and Han – Caravan Commerce to Korea, Central Asia, Persia and Rome – The Lun Heng: An Intellectual’s View of First Century China – An Age of Division 200-600 A.D. – Exodus South to Wu - The Rise of Taoism and Buddhism – A Dynastic Chart of Ancient China – Early Medieval China: The Splendor of Cosmopolitan T’ang – Settlement of the Tropical South).
“A Life of Extremes” (Funerary Spirit Homes for the Deceased – Ceramic Tomb Warriors - Tenant Farmers and Serfs: The Plight of the Ordinary – Agricultural Tools and Farming – A Professional Military – Military Equipment and Weaponry – The Armies of the T’ang – Fighting the Nomads of the Gobi Desert – Vanquished Foes: Slavery in Ancient China – Chinese Geishas – Imperial Monopolies: From Salt to Iron - The Medieval Chinese Marketplace – Minerals and Manufacturing – Animal Husbandry and Agriculture – Cuisine of Ancient China – Beer and Wine; Fermented Palm and Coconut Milk – The Rise of Medieval Tea – Silk and Other Garment Fabrics – Slippers, Sandals and Shoes – Iranian, Turkish, and Other Styles from the Steppes – Cosmetics and Hairdressing – The Medieval Home – Building Techniques – Liu Po: An Ancient Board Game – Pillars and Lintels, Lacquer and Gilt – The Good Life of the Villa: Air Conditioning, Baths, Fountains, Fans and Heaters – Interior Décor: Furniture and Accessories of Wood, , Metal, Lacquer, Glass and Ceramics – From Tableware and Utensils to Musical and Writing Instruments – Entertainment: Sports, Polo, Football, Hunting, Music, Dancing, Parlor Games and Festivals – Parlor Games of Parcheesi, Lotto, Backgammon, “Go”, and Cards – Mystical Music and Dance – Bronze Bells, Limestone Chimes, Harps, Lutes, Stringed Zithers, and the Sheng Mouth Organ – Imperial Palace Shows and Festivals).
“Hallowed Ways” (Ancient Religions – Shams and Animism – The Dragon Rain Spirit – The Gods of Nature – Human Sacrifices for the God of the Yellow River – Female Shamans: Divine Wisdom – Blood Sacrifices of Animals and Servants for Bronze Age Kings – Confucius: Wandering Sage – The State Cult of Han – The Confucian State – Shamanistic Animistic Taoism versus Priestly Bureaucratic Confucianism – Taoist Texts: Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu – Han Magicians and Alchemists – The Immortal Hsien Angels: “Feathered Folk” – The Collapse of Han; the Resurgence of Transcendental Taoism in the South; the Coming of Buddhism – The Return of the Central State: The T’ang – The Three Doctrines: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism – A Hierarchy of Deities – The Taoist Dream of Immortality: The Buddhist Doctrine of Enlightenment ).
“Royal Sons of Heaven” (The Legendary 23rd Century B.C. First Hsia Dynasty Emperor Yu – Yao: Legendary Primeval Ruler – The King’s Role: Intermediary Between God and Man – Ritual Appeals to the Rain Gods: Human Sacrifice – Oracle Bones: Ghostly Communiques Between Living and Dead Kings of Shang – A Change of Heaven’s Mandate: Shang to Chou – The Decline of the Chou: The Rise of Feudal Lords – The Duties of Fifth Century B.C. Chou Kings – The Unifying Centralized Dynasty of Ch’in - The Succession of Han – Han Secular Administration and Ministries – End of the Han: Northern Barbarian Invaders – After Four Hundred Years of Anarchy: The Unification and Expansion of the Tang and China’s Greatest Age – Eight Century Tang Emperor Li Lung-chi: Archer, Horseman, Polo Player, Calligrapher, Astronomer, Musician, Scientist – Li Lung-chi’s Yellow River Suspension Bridge and Water-Powered Astronomical Clock – The Provincial Magistrates – The Ignominious End of the Tang).
“A Cosmic Plan” (Filial Piety and the Story of Tung Yung – Secret Geometry of the Universe – Nu Kua: Deity/Builder of the Sky – The Mystical Nine Realms – The Universal Model of the Nine Mansions – Mountains of the Gods: Four Corners and in Center of Middle Kingdom – Yin and Yang: Shaded and Sunlit, Male and Female, Winter and Summer – I Ching: The “Book of Changes” – The Five Activities of Water, Fire, Wood, Metal and Earth - The Five Sacred Animals of Chinese Cosmology – Ch’i: Divine Pipelines of Earth – Cosmic World Geometry – Shang and Han Cities and Public Buildings – The Population 2 Million T’ang Capital City of Ch’ang-an: Rival to Babylon, Alexandria and Rome – The Great Luminous Palace of T’ang – The Divine Metropolitan Plan and the Rectangular Universe – The T’ang Garden ).
“Discoverers and Inventors” (Mapping the Skies: Ch’ien Le-chih Fifth Century Astronomer – The Study of Astronomy: A Royal Monopoly – The Tower of Wen Wang 1,000 B.C.: Astronomical Observatory Prototype – The Ancient Calendar of 366 Days – Calculating Summer and Winter Solstice – Hallet’s Comet 240 B.C. – Shang Catalogers of the Stars – Records of Eclipses and SuperNovae – Calculating the Equinoxes – The First Astronomical Clock 721 A.D. – The Pursuit of Immortality: The Science of Alchemy – Alchemy Guides from the Han – The Coming of the Sixth Century B.C. Secular Physician – The Third Century B.C. Medical Specialist – Acupuncture and Moxibustion – Healing Drugs, Herbs, and Internal Medicine – A Han Series of Books: “Materia Medica” – Therapeutic Values of Minerals – The Four Greatest Technological Innovations: The Compass, Gunpowder, Paper, and Printing – The T’ang Compass – Medieval Gunpowder for Fireworks – The Production of Paper Before Christ – Seventh Century Woodblock Printing – Other Inventions: The Wheelbarrow, Breast-Collar Harness for Domesticated Animals, Deep Borehole Drilling to 2,000 feet, Suspension and Segmental-Arch Bridges, Domestication of the Silkworm, Porcelain Production, Ink).
“A Heritage of Words” (Literature in Ancient China: The Great Classics – Classic Written Language: Unchanged in 2,000 Years – Logographic Languuges: Chinese, Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian Hieroglyphs – Differing Dialects: Common Writing – Han: Brush, Ink, and Silk Scrolls – Medieval China: A Profusion of Books and Literature – Tang Dynasty Degrees in Literature – The Evolution of Chinese Literature – Shih Ching: Tenth Century B.C. Poems, Hymns, and Chants – Fifth Century B.C. Chou Dynasty: Ch’u Tz’u Poetry – Poetry of Nature – Poetry of Love – Poetry of the Divine).
“China and the Outer World” (Tang founder of a Golden Age: Emperor T’ai Tsung – Influential Neighbors: Japan, Korea and Tibet – Medieval Contacts with Persia and Byzantium – The Jade Trade – The Mongols – Ch’in and Han Expansionism – Chang Chi’en: Marco Polo/Magellan of China – Han Expansion to the South Seas – By Sea and By Land: T’ang Trade Routes to India, Arabia, Egypt and Byzantium – Buddhist Missionaries and I-ching – T’ang Explorer-Pilgrims: Hsuan-tsang – Foreign Refugees and Immigrants – The Yangtze River Foreigners Community of Yang-chou – Cambodian and Malaysian Ghosts, Goblins and Demons – Indian Astronomy and Cosmology – Uzbek Horsebreeders and Caravaneers – Art Motifs from the Persian and Hellenic Worlds – The Famous Dances of Cambodia and Burma – Parrots from Indonesia, Lap Dogs from Uzbekistan, Falcons from Korea – Exotic Cosmetics, Spices, Gourmet Delicacies – A Chronology of Ancient China: Political and Military-Arts, Sciences and Religion).
There are also eight photo essays:
“A Golden Age in Bronze” (China’s Golden Age of Bronze: Shang and Chou Masterpieces – Sacrifices to Ancestral Spirits: Cauldrons and Wine Jars – Ancestor Worship and Ceremonial Offerings – “Monster Mask” Sacrificial Vessels – Weapons: The Glory and Suffering of War – The Sacred Role of the Home: Domestic Artifacts – Mirrors of the Universe: Personal Ornamentation).
“Frontier Lords and Peasants” (Han Dynasty Bas Relief Tiles and Stone: An Enduring Record – The Hard Life of the Peasant – Tranquil Szechwan – The Gentlemanly Sports of Archery and Hunting – Forests of Abundance – Noble Steeds for the Emperor – The Steeds of Ferghana, Turkestan – 300 Pounds of Gold: The Price of a Horse – Revelries at a Feast – Holiday Feasts and Entertainment – Architecture for the Imperial Age – The Awe of Imperial Han and Gentry Residences: Cashmere Carpets, Sculptures, Paintings, and Draperies).
“Buddhism In Stone” (Buddhist Indian Missionaries for China – The Thousand Buddhas Gallery at Mai-chi-shan – Cave Art: Graven Guardians of Faith from Gentle Maiden Attendants to the Fierce King of Heaven – Serene Follows of the Buddha: Sixth Century Chinese Sculptors of Stone – The Compassionate Boddhisattvas: Yun-kang 490 A.D. – Cave Shrines: The Many Buddhas of China – A Gallery of Divine Figures: Central China’s Seventh Century Lung-men Buddha).
“Womanly Virtues” (The Admonitions of the Imperial Instructress to the Court Ladies – Humble, Yielding, Respectful, and Reverential: A Husband is Heaven – The Humble Routines of Imperial Family Life – The Privacy of the Imperial Bed Chamber – The Life of the Imperial Concubine – Chinese Womanhood: Subservience from Birth).
“The Language of Painting” (Calligraphy as an Art – An Artist’s Ch’i: The Vitality of Life – Deft Brushwork: The Artist’s “Heartprint” – Accurate Likenesses: Portraying the Spirit Through the Form – Versatile Colors: Matching the Hues of Nature – A Sacred Representation of Kuan-yin – A Brilliant Panorama: The Temptation and Assault of Buddha by the Devil Mara – Well-Planned Space – An Illusion of Depth – A Feeling of Height – Venerated Traditions: Landscape Scrolls – LifeLike Spirit: The Mysterious Quality of Vitality – An Eighth Century Contemplative Scholar by the Master Wang Wei – An Eighth Century Masterpiece: A Rearing Steed).
“The Art of Printing” (The Invention of Paper and Ink – Setting up the Page – Preparing the Wood Block – Printing the Paper).
“Poetry of the Land” (Landscape Poetry: Tumultuous Mountain Rivers; Placid Pacific Delta Lakes; Bone-Dry Gobi Desert; Dusty Mongolians Steppes; Northern Plains of Grain – Ninth Century Chu-ch’en Village on the Yangtze River – Eighth Century Duckweed Pond off the Huai River – Eighth Century Colod Mountain Szechwan Valley – Third Century Fu on the Yangtze River Gorge – Anonymous Peasant Song – Ninth Century Po Chu-I Planting Bamboo – Eighth Century Tu Fu Written Aboard a Boat – Second Century B.C. Fu on the Shang-lin Park Southern Coast Mountain Range).
“Royal Days of T’ang” (T’ang Imperial Capital City Ch’ang-an: Epitome of Enlightenment, Trade and Prosperity – Tang Votive Ceramic Statuettes - A Courtly Lady’s Modish Dress: T’ang Fashions – The Work and Sport of a General – A Horse Mounted Falconer – A Peddler of Exotic Wares – The Flourishing of Trade: Persian Rugs, Cambodian Ivory, Slaves from Java – Nimble Performers at Court: Wrestlers, Acrobats and Tumblers – Songs for the Emperor: Musicians and Dancers-A Royal School).
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Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology.
I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."