This book explores China's past in a new way. It shows how art objects were used in Chinese culture -- in sumptuous burials, in temples, in the elegant mansions of the rich, and the splendid setting of the Imperial Court. It explains the use of porcelain, lacquer, jade, silk and precious metals in the arts of eating and drinking. Looking afresh at the taste of Chinese scholars and western collectors over the centuries, it increases our understanding of the things they loved. Based on recent indepth research into one of the world's greatest collections, this book is of value to anyone interested in knowing more about the heritage of China. The new T. T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum uses some of the most beautiful and precious objects in the world to tell the story of one of its most ancient civilisations -- China! Both the gallery and this book are made possible through the generosity of Mr. T. T. Tsui. Book jacket.