Yuan: Chinese Architecture in a Mongol Empire
A monumental illustrated survey of the architecture of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century China
The Yuan dynasty endured for a century, leaving behind an architectural legacy without equal, from palaces, temples, and pagodas to pavilions, tombs, and stages. With a history enlivened by the likes of Khubilai Khan and Marco Polo, this spectacular empire spanned the breadth of China and far, far beyond, but its rulers were Mongols. Yuan presents the first comprehensive study in English of the architecture of China under Mongol rule.
In this richly illustrated book, Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt looks at cities such as the legendary Shangdu-inspiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridges Xanadu-as well as the architecture the Mongols encountered on their routes of conquest. She examines the buildings and monuments of diverse faiths in China during the period, from Buddhist and Daoist to Confucian, Islamic, and Christian, as well as unusual structures such as observatories, archways, stone and metal buildings, and sarcophaguses. Steinhardt dispels long-standing views of the Mongols as destroyers of cities and architecture across Asia, showing how the khans and their families built more than they tore down. She demonstrates that the stipulations of the Chinese building system were powerful and resilient enough to guide the architecture that rose under Mongolian rule.
Drawing on Steinhardts groundbreaking textual research in numerous languages as well as her pioneering fieldwork at sites across East Asia, Yuan will become the standard reference on this critical period of cultural and artistic exchange.
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