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This engaging book introduces readers to the civilizations of India, China, and Japan by exploring the ways that key ideas interact and are expressed in the three cultures. The narrative concentrates on the traditional phases of the three civilizations before the nineteenth century. The discussion of ideas focuses on the understandings of nature, man, and society. What is the nature of the universe? What is human nature? What is the ideal society? How and where are such issues reflected in art? The exploration of art touches on symbol, style, meaning, materials, and technique. For each civilization, the author explores ideals of beauty and explains aesthetic assumptions. Throughout the text, the author provides historical context and describes the kinds of social institutions that were formed in different circumstances. Complementing description and analysis is an assumption that Asian ideas and works of art expressing them are not merely relics of a vanished past, but can still be a living presence in the modern world.