Creators of Modern China (British Museum)

Jessica Harrison-Hall


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Thames & Hudson Ltd
27 April 2023
ISBN: 9780500480809
368 pages

From the publisher

Discover the stories of 100 women and men whose activities in the 19th century laid the foundations of modern China.

This book sprang from a simple but original ambition: to provide an understanding - told through the lives of 100 significant individuals - of how China transformed from dynastic empire to a modern, republican nation during the period 1796 to 1912.

Both famous and surprisingly little-known women and men are brought together in eight thematic sections that illuminate the birth of modern China. Featured figures include the Dowager Empress Cixi, the power behind the throne of the Qing dynasty for fifty years; Yu Rongling, who is regarded as the founder of modern dance in China and who trained in Paris with Isadora Duncan; Duanfang, China's first serious collector of international art before being murdered by his own troops in the 1911 Revolution that destroyed the Qing dynasty; Shi Yang, the greatest woman pirate in the world who is now celebrated in popular culture as a powerful feminine icon; Luo Zhenyu, the 'father' of Chinese archaeology whose discoveries confirmed the antiquity of Chinese civilization; and many others.

Written by a large team of specialists, this book breathes life into China's history and international relations, providing multiple insights into the history of this vast country and its role on the world stage.