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Regina Krahl. Book Review: Song Blue and White Porcelain on the Silk Road. Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology

Adam T. Kessler started his academic career with a PhD thesis on the Chinese Bronze Age site of Erlitou and achieved international fame through the 1993 exhibition catalogue Empires Beyond the Great Wall: The Heritage of Genghis Khan, for the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. In this fiercely criticized catalogue (in print particularly by Suzanne G. Valenstein and Emma C. Bunker; see Valenstein, ‘Concerning a Reattribution of Some Chinese Ceramics’, Orientations, December 1994, pp. 71–74, and Kessler, ‘Commentary’, Orientations, March, 1995, pp. 77–78), he postulated the origins of blue-and-white porcelain lie in the Chinese Song (960–1279) rather than the Mongol Yuan (1271–1368) dynasty as is generally believed. Almost twenty years later, he has expounded this theory in a magnum opus of nearly 600 pages, published as vol. XXVII of Brill’s Studies in South Asian Culture, a prestigious academic series edited by Jan Fontein. The book has been carefully produced, with sixty errata pasted in a little pocket in the back, well over 100 illustrations, an extensive bibliography and a detailed index. 

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