China's art objects and traditional manufactured products have long been sought by collectors—from porcelains and silk fabrics to furniture and even the lacquered chopsticks that are a distant relation to ones found in most Chinese restaurants. Things Chinese presents sixty distinctive items that are typical of Chinese culture and together open a special window onto the people, history, and society of the world's largest nation. Many of the objects are collectibles, and each has a story to tell.
The objects relate to six major areas of cultural life: the home, the personal, arts & crafts, eating & drinking, entertainment, and religious practice. They include items both familiar and unfamiliar—from snuff bottles and calligraphy scrolls to moon cake molds and Mao memorabilia. Ronald Knapp's evocative text describes the history, cultural signi?cance, and customs relating to each object, while Michael Freeman's superb photographs illustrate them. Together, text and photographs offer a unique look at the material culture of China and the aesthetics that inform it.