Treasures of China presents a portrait of a country and civilization that has fascinated outsiders for millennia. From the mysterious Xia (ca. 2000bce) to the last imperial rulers, the Qing (1644#150;1912), the history of the greatest imperial power in East Asia unfolds in seven chapters illuminated by over 170 stunning photographs, from the Crucible of a Civilization through to Imperial Zenith and Decline. Each section balances informative background with illuminating commentary that explains not only the art forms (from the magnificent bronze-casting to sublime ceramics, exquisite jade carving to ornate laquerwork), but reveals the nature and significance of its rich symbolism. It makes for a fascinating account of imperial power, war and invasion, as well as a journey of discovery.