Michael Nylan and Griet Vankeerberghen
Chang'an 26 BCE
An Augustan Age in China
University of Washington Press 2015
Michael Nylan and Griet Vankeerberghen have produced a landmark volume. Chang’an 26 BCE: An Augustan Age in China (University of Washington Press, 2015) collects 19 essays (plus an Introduction and an Afterword) devoted to exploring the built environment and archaeology of Han Chang’an, sociopolitical transformations in the late Western Han, and leading figures of the period. Equally significant as a contribution to Chinese studies and to the fields of urban and empire studies more broadly conceived, Chang’an 26 BCE is remarkable for its success in bringing together the work of Chinese and US scholars, and all in a series of very clear and engaging discussions of a wide range of topics, from the provisioning of Western Han Chang’an with food and water, to the figure of Chengdi as a ruler and his relationships with high-ranking princes, to potential comparisons and differences between the city and Rome, to tomb structures and murals, amid much else. This is a book that will be on researchers’ shelves for repeated consultation – and on teachers’ shelves for excerpting and assigning – for many many years to come. It is an astounding achievement, as well as a beautifully illustrated object.