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The texts chosen by Lin Yutang trace the development of Chinese art from the earliest literary reference in Confucius to the vital essays of Shih-t'ao and Shen Tsung-chi'en more than 20 centuries later. The selections cover every aspect of technique and subject matter, including the Six Canons of Chinese painting, while the scope of the book is widened further by the inclusion of important essays on collecting and connoisseurship, on the pricing and appraisal of paintings, and on calligraphy. In his introduction, Lin Yutang provides a comprehensive survey of his subject, and after each selection he furnishes the reader with a corresponding historical background, as well as information on the artist and school concerned, and explanation of any obscure passages in the original. This is the definitive single-volume sourcebook on its subject, and is completed by charts, a table of dynasties, a checklist of more than 200 artists, and a comprehensive index.
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Lin Yutang was very active in the popularization of classical Chinese literature in the West. Novelist, critic, essayist, philosopher, translator, poet, and teacher, he wrote more than 35 books and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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