A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
The Han Chinese may have thought the Khitan people were a bunch of bloodthirsty illiterates, but that did not stop these nomads from ruling parts of northern China and Mongolia from A.D. 907 to 1125. Known as the Liao dynasty, the Khitan emperors ruled from horseback, preferring to move across the open steppes rather than settle in cities. The Liao dynasty became a period of political and cultural tolerance that produced the elaborate works of art to be exhibited at the Asia Society in New York City. Gilded Splendor: Treasures of China's Liao Empire, will be on display until December 31, 2006. (Photo courtesy of the Asia Society)
Stone: A Substantial Witness (Museum of New Mexico Press, $50.00) is a photographic journey to some of the world's great works of art carved into or made out of stone. Jo Anne Van Tilburg, director of the UCLA Rock Art Archive lends her expertise to the book with an introductory essay. Photographer David Scheinbaum's haunting black-and-white photographs draw out the stones' form and texture making familiar subjects like Stonehenge seem new again. The book is not limited to ancient subjects; Zen gardens and the Supreme Court steps share space with Easter Island's Moai.
J. E. Lendon offers an entertaining analysis of the evolution of ancient warfare in Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity (Yale University Press, $20.00). Artifacts depicting soldiers are used by Lendon to make his case that the Greek and Roman armies looked backward to legends and history to develop innovative methods of combat, and to create cultures within their militaries that allowed them to dominate the world.
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