Education About Asia: Online Archives

House Home Family: Living and Being Chinese

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Outside my window, under the oppressive yellowish-gray blanket of smog laying over Beijing, are brand new high-rises in places until recently occupied by thousands of families’ homes, disappearing here as elsewhere across China at breathtaking speed, making the poignancy and importance of Ronald Knapp and Kai-yin Lo’s majestic edited volume all the more apparent. The sixteen-chapter book, beautifully designed and magnificently illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, maps, prints, diagrams, drawings, and more, is a work of art in itself. The editors hope that the volume, which takes an expansive view of domestic architecture, and the “full range of elusive interconnections linking house, home, and family” (2) will foster an appreciation for vernacular heritage and promote awareness of the need to conserve buildings as embodiments of “the essence and culture of Chinese life” (xviii).