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Fragile Cargo: China's Wartime Race to Save the Treasures of the Forbidden City

China's Wartime Race to Save the Treasures of the Forbidden City

Author: Adam Brookes  

Paperback

Fragile Cargo will share the as-yet-untold story of the brave people who saved China's art from the ravages of the Second World War, undertaking a perilous journey across the vast country in order to protect these fragile treasures. After the end of the war, and the beginning of the Communist regime, the Forbidden City curators were each faced with a stark choice- remain with their rescued artefacts in China, or flee with them to Taiwan. Depending on their choice, the curators' fates took startlingly different, sometimes heart-breaking turns.Author and former BBC Beijing correspondent Adam Brookes draws on first-hand diary accounts and his own interviews with eyewitnesses to offer a new perspective on China's twentieth-century history, exploring the cultural, social and political impact of the war and the Revolution on the country's people and its art heritage.

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Releases 1st September 2022 from Auckland
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Paperback

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Summary

Fragile Cargo will share the as-yet-untold story of the brave people who saved China's art from the ravages of the Second World War, undertaking a perilous journey across the vast country in order to protect these fragile treasures. After the end of the war, and the beginning of the Communist regime, the Forbidden City curators were each faced with a stark choice- remain with their rescued artefacts in China, or flee with them to Taiwan. Depending on their choice, the curators' fates took startlingly different, sometimes heart-breaking turns.Author and former BBC Beijing correspondent Adam Brookes draws on first-hand diary accounts and his own interviews with eyewitnesses to offer a new perspective on China's twentieth-century history, exploring the cultural, social and political impact of the war and the Revolution on the country's people and its art heritage.

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Description

The gripping true story of the intrepid curators who saved China's finest art from the ravages of the Sino-Japanese War and World War II Spring 1933. The silent courtyards and palaces of Peking's Forbidden City are tense with fear and expectation. Japan's aircraft drone overhead; its troops and tanks are only hours away. All-out war between China and Japan is coming, and the curators of the Forbidden City are faced with an impossible question: how will they protect the vast imperial art collections in their charge? The magnificent collections contain a million pieces of art - objects that carry China's deepest and most ancient memories. Among them are irreplaceable artefacts: exquisite paintings on silk, vanishingly rare Ming porcelain, and the extraordinaryStone Drums of Qin, which are adorned with 2,500-year-old inscriptions of crucial cultural significance. For sixteen terrifying years, under the quiet leadership of museum director Ma Heng, the curators would go on to transport the imperial art collections thousands of miles across China - up rivers of white water, across mountain ranges and through burning cities. In their search for safety the curators and their fragile, invaluable cargo journeyed through the maelstrom of violence, chaos and starvation that was China's Second World War. Told for the first time in English and playing out across a vast historical canvas, this is the exhilarating story of a small group of men and women who, when faced with war's onslaught on civilisation, chose to resist.

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About the Author

Adam Brookes grew up in the UK and was a journalist with BBC News for many years. As a foreign correspondent he was based in Indonesia, China and the United States. Along the way he reported from many other countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea. He lives in Washington DC.

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Product Details

Publisher
Vintage Publishing | Chatto & Windus
Published
1st September 2022
Pages
384
ISBN
9781784743802
$32.00
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Releases 1st September 2022 from Auckland
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