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Meng, Ho Wing (Author) & Lim, Albert (Photographer). THE EMPEROR'S LOST TREASURE: REMNANTS OF UNRECORDED CHENGHUA PORCELAIN. Singapore: Times Editions, 2003. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 225 pages. As New/As New.

Ground-breaking monograph on subject. One of the finest, most intriguing, and most rewarding books on Chinese Dynasty porcelain ever published. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. The book is now scarce. Presents what amounts to a culmination of Dr. Ho Wing Meng's life-work as a scholar of Classical Chinese art. A philosopher (of the Western School) by training and throughout his academic career, Ho Wing Meng single-handedly restored the great legacy of the Chinese Diaspora through four definitive books on Straits Chinese arts (mainly what is now Singapore and Malaysia). His book on the mystery of the Emperor Chenghua porcelain of the Ming Dynasty is provocative, speculative, and dazzling. Very little is known about Chenghua porcelain because most of it has mysteriously vanished. Very little has been found after more than five hundred years of legal and illegal search-excavations. Still, the little that has come to light indisputably surpasses the porcelain that any of the great Chinese Dynasties subsequently produced, particularly the legendary Kangxi Dynasty of the final Qing Period. Could the Emperor himself have realized and foreseen this, and had the pieces destroyed (instead of preserved) upon his imminent death? If so, could some pieces have survived anyway, buried and hidden away so well that they have thus far not been found in large quantities? If so, the Emperor's motives were pragmatic and not necessarily evil: Every successive ruler orders new porcelain designs to mark his reign, consigning his predecessors' to the past and thereby dispersing, neglecting, and eventually destroying them. By destroying his porcelain, Emperor Chenghua was giving his successors a clean slate and helping to perpetuate porcelain art without the burden of Chenghua greatness (because he knew that his porcelain would never be surpassed). Ho Wing Meng has asserted for more than thirty years that the collection presented in this book gives an incomparable glimpse into precisely this greatness. Because the pieces differ radically from what is considered authenticated Chenghua porcelain, the book has not been allowed to be published until 2003 by Singapore, which relented only after Ho Wing Meng agreed to present the collection as a "you-be-the-judge" provocation rather than the definitive guide to Chenghua porcelain. We have not seen anything like these pieces, which are indeed the most refined and most fully realized of Chinese figurative painting, perfecting the tradition's simplicity of line but with none of the overripe, over-elaborate, and ornate Mannerism of Kangxi porcelain. They also uncannily anticipate the warmth, vividness, and unerring sense of color we identify with such Modern Western figures as Gauguin, Matisse, Warhol, and Hodgkin. A "must-have" title for photography and art book collections. This title is now highly collectible. This is one of very few copies of the First Hardcover Edition still available online and has no flaws, a pristine beauty. 120 color plates. One of the most beautiful books on art. A flawless collectible copy. . ISBN B001B3WJSQ. $150.00

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