Empire of Living Symbols

448pp 32 ILLUS 2008 LIST PRICE: £14.99 (P) E332



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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 3,000-year-old sources of the written characters still used in China today. Lindqvist here explains how mental associations are formed by these visual images and shows that the symbols have permeated all of Chinese thought, architecture, art and culture.

A fascinating introduction to Chinese language and culture. Beautifully designed and illustrated. LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS