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Stephen L. Koss

By the Hills Embraced: A Social and Cultural History of Hangzhou, China

By the Hills Embraced: A Social and Cultural History of Hangzhou, China

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Hangzhou. The city on the lake. Sister city to Suzhou in the ancient Chinese adage: "In the sky there is Heaven. On Earth are Suzhou and Hangzhou." In China, the city of Hangzhou occupies its own special place in the country's history and culture. Among the Chinese people, Hangzhou persists to the present day as one of the nation’s most cherished cities and among its most popular tourist destinations. As the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, it was a capital city of imperial China for 150 years. Home to a million people at a time when London and Paris each barely reached 80,000, it was described by Marco Polo as “the greatest city which may be found in this world”. Home of scholars, painters, poets, and playwrights. Centuries-long source of fabulous Chinese silks and one of the nation’s finest teas. Birthplace of celebrated romance legends and operas. A city of temples and pagodas, but also of churches and mosques. By the mid-15th-Century, Hangzhou was truly an earthly paradise. The city and its West Lake are inextricably bound to one another in physical fact, historical evolution, and poetic imagination, like Paris with the Seine, London with the Thames, or Venice with its canals. When we speak of Hangzhou, we speak of many things: scenic beauty, cultural mythology, Buddhist temples and pagodas, classical poems and paintings, traditional literati culture, historical events, and famous persons from emperors to military and revolutionary heroes to extraordinary individuals from all walks of life. Until now, no single book in the English language introduces the city in a comprehensive way. With a keen eye for the pageant of history and a masterful gift of storytelling, Stephen L. Koss provides key cultural context in explaining why Hangzhou is so much more than a pretty body of water surrounded by rolling, verdant hills and ancient pagodas. If you have not experienced Hangzhou, you have not experienced China. Stephen L. Koss is the author of Beautiful Su: A Social and Cultural History of Suzhou, China.
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  • China Books

  • 2023

  • English

  • 654 Pages

  • Paperback

  • ‎ 6 x 1.64 x 9 inches

  • 0835103218

  • 9780835103213

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