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Coloring Book the Four Masterworks (Coloring China)

ISBN: 9780997420609
Publisher: William Data Inc.
Edition: 1st
Publication Date: 2016-07-20
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  • Regular price $27.71

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Description


INTRODUCTION

It may be surprising for those of us in the West to learn that in China, with its long and rich cultural heritage, there are only four works of narrative fiction considered to be masterworks. Three Kingdoms, The Journey to the West, All Men Are Brothers, and The Dream of the Red Chamber. In China, the great love was given to works of history, philosophy and the wonderful lyric poetry so well suited to the Chinese language. The word for "novel" in fact could best be translated as "small talk." So the inclusion of these four works as masterpieces is high praise indeed, and deservedly so.

Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms is to Chinese civilization what the tales of King Arthur are to the English.

These are the tales of brave and sometimes villainous warriors who tried to carve a civilization out of chaos, traveling the countryside to fight for their lords.

The Journey to the West

The Journey to the West undoubtedly is the most beloved work of Chinese prose fiction. A long and involved story, it is more a series of legends and folk tales than a fully fledged novel.

All Men Are Brothers

If Three Kingdoms is the King Arthur stories of China, All Men Are Brothers represents the Chinese Robin Hood. The novel, which is really more a collection of heroic folk tales, takes place in China's great Northern Song Dynasty (960 1127 CE). The basic story is of a group of social misfits who gather at the edge of a swamp, where they set up camp and venture out to try to make their fortunes through banditry and adventure.

The Dream of the Red Chamber

The Dream of the Red Chamber is a novel in a more Western sense. It is a contemporary novel, written by Cao Xueqin to describe the events of his own life and times, the middle of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Also known as The Story of the Stone, the novel is a sprawling work usually translated into four English volumes, and populated by some five hundred characters.

The Illustrations

The drawings in this book are by contemporary artists working in the tradition of lianhuanhua. This is the Chinese form of graphic storytelling comparable to the manga tradition in Japan or the graphic novel tradition in the West. The generations born in the 1960s through the 1980s also have a special personal feeling for these books. Like manga or Western graphic novels, there are many conventions in the genre, some of which are seen in this book. Warriors are often seen in striking martial arts poses with their favorite weapons, while deities are seen in peaceful poses, sometimes floating on clouds. Almost all are in elaborate costumes emphasized by bold lines.


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