The arts of China

Michael Sullivan, 1916-

Book - 2008

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Berkeley : University of California Press c2008.
5th ed., rev. and expanded
Item Description
"An Ahmanson Murphy fine arts book"--P. [4] of cover.
Prev. ed. published: 1999.
Physical Description
ix, 353 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), maps ; 26 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Michael Sullivan, 1916- (-)
  • Before the dawn of history
  • The early Bronze Age: Shang and Western Zhou
  • Eastern Zhou and the period of the warring states
  • The Qin and Han Dynasties
  • The Three Kingdoms and the Six Dynasties
  • The Sui and Tang Dynasties
  • The Five Dynasties and the Song Dynasty
  • The Yuan Dynasty
  • The Ming Dynasty
  • The Qing Dynasty
  • The twentieth century and beyond.
Review by Choice Reviews

Since it was first published in 1967 as A Short History of Chinese Art, this classic has held the foremost place among Chinese art histories in English. This is primarily because all the editions, including this new one, reflect a superb choice of illustrative examples--each a hallmark of its kind. Sullivan has continued to organize his work dynastically, and argues in a new preface that the Chinese people see their art in this way, making it imperative that westerners understand the sweep of Chinese historical artistic expression chronologically as well. The new edition extends itself at both ends of the scale. With a newly understood history of the Bronze Age, based on archaeological discoveries, Sullivan recasts that section. Additionally he takes a closer look at contemporary artists. Each chapter brings new illustrations; and a much expanded examination of calligraphy, Buddhist art, and Chan art rounds out this new edition. Praise of this work, in its new and older forms, in itself represents a history of the greatest Chinese art historians; one should take their suggestions and visit or revisit this model of scholarship. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers. Copyright 2009 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

For the fifth edition of his internationally renowned The Arts of China, Michael Sullivan has thoroughly revised and expanded every chapter of this classic history of Chinese art from the Neolithic period to the present day. This new edition reflects the latest archaeological discoveries, pays greater attention to the art of calligraphy, provides more information on Chan (Zen) art, and takes a close look at contemporary art. New images have been added to almost every chapter: the work now features more than four hundred photographs, maps, and illustrations, with more than two-thirds of them in full color. Written in the engaging and lucid style that is Sullivan's hallmark, The Arts of China is readily accessible to general readers as well as serious students of art history. Sullivan's approach remains true to the way the Chinese themselves view art, providing readers with a sense of the sweep of history through China's dynasties. This organizational strategy makes it easy for readers to understand the distinct characteristics of each period of art and to gain a clearer view of how Chinese art has changed in relation to its historical context. With many improvements that bring it fully up to date, The Arts of China will remain the most comprehensive and widely read introduction to the history of Chinese art.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From the Neolithic to the avant-garde, and through all the brilliant centuries in between, Michael Sullivan's introduction to Chinese art history is the classic in its field, unsurpassed in its clarity, balance, and sure grasp of the subject. Whether for the classroom student or the casual reader, its remarkable range and elegant style make this book a wonderful way for anyone to begin learning about Chinese art."--Jerome Silbergeld, Princeton University"I have used Sullivan's Arts of China in my class for thirty years. No other historian of Chinese art today commands such a wide range of knowledge as Michael Sullivan."--Richard Barnhart, Yale University, editor of Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting"After more than forty years since its first publication, Michael Sullivan's Arts of China, now in its fifth edition, remains the most concise yet most comprehensive introduction to the history of Chinese art to students and the public."--Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago"Michael Sullivan is the acknowledged dean of modern Chinese art studies, and any work bearing his name guarantees both a high level of quality and a wide readership."--Maxwell K. Hearn, Metropolitan Museum of Art