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Empire of Living Symbols

The origins of Chinese ideographs were not known until 1899, when a scholar went to an apothecary for some medicine made of “dragon bone.” To his surprise, the bone, which had not yet been ground into powder, contained a number of carved inscriptions. Thus began the exploration of the 3000-year-old sources of the written characters still used in China today. In this unparalleled and deeply researched book, Cecilia Lindqvist tells the story of these characters and shows how their shapes and concepts have permeated all of Chinese thought, architecture, art, and culture.
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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Asia

On Sale: April 27th 2009

Price: $14.99 / $18.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 448

ISBN-13: 9780786731992

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


Guardian 7/5/08
“An evocative, compelling celebration of language as a carrier of culture.”

Toronto Globe & Mail 7/5/08
“[A] delightful cultural and linguistic history.”

Boston Globe
“Deserve[s] special mention…Lavishly illustrated.”

London Review of Books
, 2008
“A fascinating introduction to Chinese language and culture. Beautifully designed and illustrated with photographs, calligraphy and drawings.”

Shelf Awareness’s “Top Ten of 2009,” 12/15/2009
“For those of us fascinated by Chinese, this offers detailed histories of many basic characters, showing their earliest forms, which often were representational, and their stylized modern versions.”

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