Book Review: Symbols, Art, and Language from the Land of the Dragon
Strong recommendation of a never-aging pleasant reading- Symbols, art, and language from the land of the dragon: The cultural history of 100 Chinese characters
Book name in Chinese: 一百个漢字
Author: Ni, Yibin
Format: Book, hardcover
First published in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2009 by Duncan Baird Publishers Ltd
Description: 191 p. : ill. ; 31 cm.
Amazon book review
2010 Frankfurt book fair
Complex, beautiful, and intriguing, Chinese characters have developed over thousands of years, captivating as much with their artistic expressiveness as with their intriguing layers of meaning. From the earliest symbols engraved onto pieces of bone to the comprehensive writing system in use today, they have matured and diversified through the centuries – written reflections of a unique and fascinating culture.
Symbols, Art, and Language from the Land of the Dragon draws together one hundred of the most significant characters, placing them within their historical, artistic, and social contexts, and tracing the evolution to the present day. Interweaving history, culture, art, and language, this book offers new and rewarding insights into a great civilisation.
Yibin Ni (Ph.d), who used to teach Chinese art and culture at the National University of Singapore, is now an independence scholar and freelance writer. An expert in Chinese iconography, he has contributed to numerous publications including China (DBP, 2005).
A long-lasting book both for pleasure-reading and referencing. See comment on the Seattle Times:
About Chinese Characters (adapted from Introduction):
A Chinese character is composed of one or more “root characters” (radicals), selected from a set of more than 400, which usually have a meaning as well as an associated pronunciation. Most early Chinese words had just one syllable and were thus represented by only one of these characters. In modern times, however, a Chinese spoken word usually consists of more than one syllable, and is put down on paper in the form of one, two or more characters accordingly. Each resulting character has a meaning component or a sound component, or both.
The unique complexity and symbolism of these character forms, and the ways in which they have been expressed through varying scripts and styles, lie at the heart of Chinese culture and history.
Let’s appreciate some of the characters, courtesy of Duncan Baird Publishers.