by Rosalind E. Bradford
LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrucken, Germany (January 2012)
This extraordinary Northern Wei (late 5th c CE) lacquer coffin was excavated from a tomb in northwest China. It depicts equally traditional Chinese images and images imported from the West along the Silk Road. Both are examined in detail. The foreign images are traced, often for the first time, to their points of origin in Iran, Central and South Asia, even the Mediterranean and Egypt, with surprising results. New interpretations are presented of the Mawangdui silk painting, flaming triangles, human-headed birds, pearl roundels and even half-palmettes. Comprehensive surveys are provided of furniture of the period, sutra pillars and bronze door knockers making these volumes indispensable for students of Chinese material culture. Images on the coffin reflect Daoist, Buddhist, even Sogdian and Mesopotamian beliefs. Historians and art historians alike will find documentation of these themes from the Yellow Sea to the Mediterranean in the 809 illustrations. "A stellar example of meticulous attention to detail and exhaustive research on the subject." East Asian Council Committee, Canadian Asian Studies Association.
The Guyuan Sarcophagus: Motifs from All Asia. Vols. I, II and III.
Available on Amazon.