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NEW BOOK: CHINESE CHARMS: ART, RELIGION AND FOLK BELIEF BY ALEX FANG
Regarding the Thierry book on Chinese charms mentioned a few weeks ago, Scott Semans forwarded the following about another new book on Chinese Coin Charms. -EditorI have details now on Alex Fang's book. Contents, captions, and some forwards by Western experts are in English, but the background on charms as artistic and cultural objects is in Chinese. The book still has not been distributed from the printer.
Of the more than 1,000 coin-shaped charms that Alex Fang Chengyu has in his collection, his favorite is quite an enigma.
The Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) bronze coin depicts a man on horseback attended by servants on the obverse. On the reverse, three people stand on a river bank, looking down at a person in the water.
"Some believe the front side depicts Xuan Wu (a Taoist god)," said Fang from the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong (CityU). "Maybe... The God of North became an important icon in the Song Dynasty after Emperor Huizong had a dream about him."
But the story on the reverse is inexplicable. Who are the people on the bank? Why is there a person in the water? What does the charm signify? So far, Fang hasn't been able to find satisfactory answers.
When the coin was cast, the allusions should be unmistakable - "something people could tell with one look," Fang said. "But now nobody knows. A piece of our cultural heritage is lost, probably forever."
To read the complete article, see: Coins & culture (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkedition/2008-07/30/content_6887499.htm)
For more information, see: http://www.coinhome.cn/viewthread.php?tid=12685&extra=page%3D1 (http://www.coinhome.cn/viewthread.php?tid=12685&extra=page%3D1)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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