North East Asia, all periods, Bibliography

China, Mongolia, Korea & Tibet

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center


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3000 Years of Chinese Costume *****!
Big, colourful, high-ticket, on a topic often slighted in English. There's a lot of difference between different areas, eras, and levels of society. T2



All About Shanghai: a Standard Guidebook ****
Oxford University Paperbacks, 1983; originally The University Press, Shanghai, 1934; 229 pg, no index
Primitive maps show how little of Shanghai existed then. Detailed guide leads your characters to hotels, restaurants, gardens, nightclubs, etc., all with the original ads. T3


Chinese Carvings **
Chinese Music **

Quon-Quon Company, LA, 1944; each 16 pg
Brief little monographs to allay superficial curiosity, part of the Chinese Classics in Miniature series. T1

Austin Waddell, L.

Lhasa and Its Mysteries ****
Dover; 384 pg, 185 photos
Account of the British expedition into the very independent realm of Tibet in 1903-4. T2

Barnes, Gina L.

China, Korea and Japan: The Rise of Civilization in East Asia ****
Thames & Hudson, London
Combines early history with archeaology to show how the area emerged and developed from the 700's. T1

Booth, Martin

The Triads: the Growing Global Threat from the Chinese Criminal Societies ****
St. Martin's Press, NY; 1990; 215 pg, index, "Select Bibliography"
A history of these secret societies from their days as revolutionaries supporting the deposed Ming dynasty, through their HQ's in Shanghai and Hong Kong, to their work at emigrating ahead of the Communist take-over of Hong Kong. T2

Blunden, Caroline, and Mark Elvin

The Cultural Atlas of China *****!
Facts On File, NY, 1986
Encyclopedic, but not linear in time. Requires a couple of readings, but then everything falls into place, and you know a lot about China. Magnificent maps. T1

Boerschmann, Ernst

Old China in Historic Photographs ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 304 pg
Taken in China from 1906 to 1909, these 288 photos were aimed at capturing "timeless China" rather than modern China. T3

Chambers, James

The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe ***
New York, Atheneum, 1979
Excellent chapter on the superbly disciplined "Mongol War Machine" and how it was organized, and how events in Asia saved Europe; also how integrated the western Mongol Empire was with the eastern. T2

Chang, Wonona W., Irving B. Chang, Helene W. Kutscher, and Austin H. Kutscher

An Encyclopedia of Chinese Food and Cooking ***
Crown Publishers, Inc., NY, 1970; 534 pg, index
Large, with excellent guide to ingredients, storage, comparative prices, and nutrition guide. T3

Christie, Anthony

Chinese Mythology ***
Barnes & Noble, NY
Some good tales to get your feet wet. T1

Cleaves, Francis Woodman

The Secret History of the Mongols *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass; 1982
Mongolian history from their side, with all the a priori cultural assumptions. Fascinating. T2


The Wisdom of Confucius ****
1900; now from Wings: trans. by Epiphanius Wilson
Find out what "Confucius say" authentically.

Cooper, J. C.

Chinese Alchemy; the Taoist Quest for Immortality ****
Sterling Publishing, NY; 1990; 160 pg, index, bibliography
A rare volume on Chinese magical practices. Cheerfully written by a writer fascinated by his subject, but not groggy with the heavy "true-believerism" of so many occult books. T1

Cranmer-Byng, L. (Launcelot), 1872-1945

A Lute Of Jade: selections from the classical poets of China

Der Ling, Princess

Go To Project GutenbergTwo Years in the Forbidden City *****!
Written before the Great War by the first lady-in-waiting to the Empress Dowager, one of the last imperial rulers of China. Princess Der Ling was educated in missionary schools and a French convent, and married an American gentleman. Knows the ceremonial is exotic to the reader, but has a charming level of internal acceptance of the norms of her life. T2

Ecke, Gustav

Chinese Domestic Furniture in Photographs and Measured Drawings *****!
reprint from Dover Publications, Inc., NY
From early Shang to late Ming. Your characters have to sit down somewhere! This isn't Japan: there are plenty of chairs and divans. You can make miniatures or full-sized copies from this book. T2

Felber, John E.

American's Tourist Manual, People's Republic of China **
International Intertrade Index, Newark, New Jersey; 1976; 224 pg, crude index
A decent tour guide, giving local temperatures to expect, routes of travel, costs, menu items, and how to use chopsticks. Not the pocket encyclopedia type that provides a lot of background. T3

Fenollosa, Ernest F.

Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art
1913; now from Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Includes Tibetan and Korean art, as well. T2

Garrett, Valery M.

Mandarin Squares: Mandarins and Their Insignia *****!
Oxford University Press, NY & Hong Kong, 1990; 66 pgs, 16 pgs of plates, bibliography
"Mandarins" are not a homogenous class, but one of infinite sub-caste, each jealous of its symbols and perquisites, many of which had to do with dress. T3

Giles, Herbert E.

Go To Project GutenbergChina and the Manchus ****
Begins in the 12th C and follows the effects of the Manchu on China, including the fall of the Ming dynasty, down to the period of the Republic. Includes early history of the Triad Society, ancestor of the modern Triads. T1
Go To Project GutenbergHistoric China and Other Sketches *****!
A series of verbal views of China by a largely sympathetic observer, starting with an Emperor's funeral. He addresses the actual position of women compared to the European, etiquette, etc. A must-read! T1
Go To Project GutenbergThe Civilization of China *****!
All the basics you need for "classic" Chinese life. Very easy reading. T1
Go To Project GutenbergReligions of Ancient China ****
Excellent, easy-reading discussion of all the religions of China, native or foreign, and their effects on the society. T1

Gulick, Robert H. van

Sexual Life in Ancient China ****
Barnes & Noble, NY; 392 pg
Van Gulick is always so good! Enjoys traditional Chinese culture without trying to convince the reader to go out and become Chinese, which is too often the air of Chinese scholarship, when it is not demonizing the Yellow Menace. Not being Christian, the Chinese long retained the ancient pagan belief that sex is good and normal, and nothing to be guilty about if done within cultural limits. This covers specific practices and attitudes in the old texts. T2

Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages ****
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available, and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes, done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part One. T2

Headland, Isaac Taylor (1859-1942)

Go To Project GutenbergThe Chinese Boy and Girl *****!
All the games, nursery rhymes, stories, and entertainments characters should have grown up on. T1
Go To Project GutenbergCourt Life in China: The Capital, Its Officials and People ****
By the one-time president of Peking U, whose wife was physician to the imperial ladies, this is largely the biography of the Empress Dowager. T2

Hirth, Friedrich, Ph.D.

The Ancient History of China, to the End of the Chou Dynasty ***
Columbia University Press, NY, 1923; 383 pg, index
The chronological tables are a good grounding, as are the lists of rulers. Runs from the mythological to 2200 BC, then on to end in 247 BC. Nice fold-out maps. T1

Huc, Evariste-Regis, and Joseph Gabet

Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China, 1844-1846 ****
Catholic missionaries go into the (to the European) unknown, and write down everything they can about it. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Chinese section (Contemporary half) provides tables for building thousands of names that can be used from the earliest dynasties forward. Gives a guide to changes made by emigration, as well as a history of naming, and various social practices. Also chapters on Mongolian, Korean, and Tibetan names. T1

Knight, William Henry

Diary Of A Pedestrian In Cashmere And Thibet


Tao Teh King, or The Tao And Its Characteristics
The basic text for taoism, translated by James Legge. T3

Laufer, Berthold

Jade: Its History and Symbolism in China ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 384 pg, 272 illos
Covers 3000 years of jade, as a gem, a symbol, even a magical substance. T2

Legge, James

Go To Project GutenbergThe Chinese Classics (Prolegomena) ****
Nice introduction to the Classics, which are a basis of any educated person's mind. T2

Leung, W.-T, R.K. Pecot, and B. K. Watt

Composition of Foods Used in Far Eastern Countries ****
USDA Handbook No. 34, 1952; 62 pg, no index
Nutritional values of buffalo milk and meat, edible bird's nests, gingko seeds, sagopalm flour, etc. Out of print, but you can photocopy it at the library. T3

Majno, Guido, MD

The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA; 1975
Gospel; heavy research and testing; fascinating reading. Covers classic Chinese medicine, Taoist theory, and eunuch survival rates. T1

McGovern, William Montgomery, Ph.D.

The Early Empires of Central Asia: A Study of the Scythians and the Huns and the Part They Played in World History **
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1939; 529 pgs, index, bibliography
About a of third of this is outdated by later studies. About a third of it is good. About a third is assumptions unwarranted even at the time, pure author prejudice. The best part is the history of the Hiung-nu kingdoms (whom he calls Hunnish on no basis whatever, while pointing out major cultural differences between them and the Huns). However, all his ethnology -- his descriptions of culture or way of life -- should be treated as highly suspect until corraborated elsewhere. But for the history stuff, great! T2

Osprey Military Books

The worst book out by Osprey still gets three stars. The best are five stars and a bang. These are each a dense, military monograph on weapons, tactics, strategy, and history, with some little cultural background. Rarely at libraries, you will usually find these where military miniatures are sold. T2

In the usual Men-at-Arms Series:

Pakenham, Valerie

Out in the Noonday Sun: Edwardians in the Tropics ****
Random House, NY, 1985; original British edition, The Noonday Sun, by Methuen London Ltd., London
While covering the British African and Asian empire from about 1900 to 1930, it of course stops in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Rare for a British book, it has an index. Lots of pictures, very readable. You'll probably get caught by other chapters, too: consider it background research on the world your characters live in. The section of Biographical Notes is like a mini-encyclopedia of the main players. T2

Peers, Christopher J.

Ancient Chinese Armies, 1500-200 BC ***
Osprey Men-at-Arms series #218, Reed International Books, London, 1990; 47 pgs, no index, bibliography; color plates by Angus McBride
Very good coverage of arms and armor, organization, and campaigns. Just passable on horse gear: McBride shows the "cheekpiece" bridle as if it were a modern curb bit, which is an absolutely wrong placement of the reins, and shows nothing whatever of the chariot harness, which was the dorsal yoke system. T2

Imperial Chinese Armies: (1) 200 BC-589 AD [sic] ****
Osprey Men-at-Arms series #284, Reed International Books, London, 1995; 47 pgs, no index, bibliography; color plates by Michael Perry
Besides the usual, Peers covers garrison life. Perry knows his bitting. T2

Imperial Chinese Armies: (2) 590-1260 AD [sic] ****
Osprey Men-at-Arms series #295, Reed International Books, London, 1996; 47 pgs, no index, bibliography; color plates by Michael Perry
Extra good stuff on siege engines and early gunpowder weapons (suuuure they only used the stuff for skyrockets and only Europeans saw the military potential). T2

Polo, Marco

The Travels of Marco Polo *****!
Penguin Books, trans. 1958
This edition has great notes discussing how much of the book is what Polo actually saw, and what his co-author added to punch up sales. T3

Reader's Digest

Everyday Life Through the Ages **"A World Behind Walls; Ancient China" pgs 64-71 "Giants of East Asia; China and Japan" pgs 210-217 "Far East Meets West; China and Japan" pgs 336-339
Reader's Digest Books
All these basic articles have fairly accurate information -- what little they have -- and excellent art and photographs. T1

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
Read through this for a moderate list of female warriors, in some cases running in families. Most of those remembered were captains or generals, down history to those of the civil war following WW2.

Sergeant, Harriet

Shanghai, Collision Point of Cultures, 1918-1939 ****
Crown Publishers, NY; 1990; 371 pg, index, bibliography
Endpaper maps are helpful. Text is deep and fascinating, based on many interviews, diaries, and letters. Covers the bad parts of town and the grottier side of life, as well as the high life. Actually extends in history to either side of the dates in the title. T2

Sosnoski, W. J.

Fun with Chinese ***
Mei Foo, Waverly, NY, 1940
Great! No pretense, but a lot of plain talk and fun lessons in reading Chinese by "an old China hand" who learnt the writing system informally, but well enough to read newspapers. T3

Spence, Jonathan D.

The Death of Woman Wang *****!
The Viking Press, NY, 1978; 169, bibliography, no index
Scholarly depth study of one city in Shantung in the 17th century, yet readable and affecting. The complexities and obligations and less-than-ideal realities of classic Chinese civilization, without which the present is incomprehensible to outsiders. T2

Spruytte, J.

Early Harness Systems *****!
J. A. Allen, London, 1977; translated by Mary Littauer
Spruytte has built and driven re-created Chines chariots. Completely explodes the earlier nonsense about the horse-throttling "ancient traction system" invented by Lefebvre des Noettes and based on no actual system. Perfectly understandable to the layman. T2

Stein, M. Aurel

Ruins of Desert Cathay *****!
Dover; 1376 pg in 2 vol, 344 photos, maps, panorama
Archeological and geological expedition of 1906-8, to inner China and Tibet. Caravan routes! T3


The Art of War
Classic Chinese military advice. T2

Thompson, John

China and Its People in Early Photographs *****!
19th C; now from Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 272 pg, 200 photos
Some of the earliest (19th century) photos, all the things that foreign artists had been trying to capture and that Chinese painting gives us like images in fog. 200 B&W plates. T2

Time-Life Books, the editors of

TimeFrame 3000-1500 BC: The Age of God-kings ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Very pictorial, good text. The air-brushed reconstructions are sometimes too in love with vast plain surfaces rather than trying to give us maximum pictorial information, and the maps, while they cover the ground, are strictly minimal. T1

TimeFrame 1500-600 BC: Barbarian Tides ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Another wide-ranging introduction to all the world at the time, including the Americas. Same complaints. T1

TimeFrame 600-400 BC: A Soaring Spirit ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Strictly Old World; guess the New World was on vacation. Does go nicely into Buddhism and Confucism. T1

What Life Was Like in the Land of the Dragon: Imperial China AD 960-1368 ****
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1998
A good pictorial adult everyday life book. T1

Ware, James R., translator

Alchemy, Medicine and Religion in the China of AD 320 ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
These attitudes and beliefs will of course apply decades, perhaps centuries, to either side of the date. T2

Weiner, Douglas

Tibetan and Himalayan Woodblock Prints
Dover; 65 full-page prints on 66 page book

Weng, Wang-go

Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: A Pictorial Survey
Dover; 109 photos

Werner, E.T.C.

Chinese Weapons ***
The Royal Asiatic Society, North China Branch, Shanghai, 1932
This book was nearly lost in the Japanese bombing of Shanghai. Its text suffers from the author's assumption that the reader is familiar with Chinese measurements like the catty and the tan (you will probably need an unabridged to find them), but is generally a good compilation from Chinese classics. A few primitive drawings, no photos. Good with collector's picture books of Chinese weapons. T2

Williams, C. A. S.

Outlines of Chinese Symolism and Art Motives ***
Dover; 472 pg, 402 illos
We would say "motifs" rather than "motives" which to most of us mean "reasons for doing" -- not what is meant. Arranged alphabetically by idea, so you can look up the right symbols for longevity. Index lets you find the meaning of cranes, etc. T3

Wilson, Verity

Chinese Dress ****
Weatherhill, NY; 1996; photos by Ian Thomas
Covers Ch'ing dynasty costumes, 1644-1912, from the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Chinese no more dressed identically throughout their history than the Europeans did. T2

Worcester, George Raleigh Gray

The Junks and Sampans of the Yangtze *****!
Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1971; 626 pages, index, glossary
A primary source of information, you can hurt yourself if you aren't careful picking up this giant book. Necessary for the harbour of Shanghai, and the length of the river, including Yangchow and Nanking. Fascinating variety of specialty craft, including those built especially for the hazards of certain river stretches. The author was River Inspector of the Chinese Maritime customs for 30 years, and gathered most of the material just before being interned by the Japanese. T2/3


Of course this will sound strange. Any form of music does until you get used to its forms. Noise it isn't. Familiarise your brain's ear by listening to one relatively short track over and over until you begin to hear the tune of it, then move on to another. Listening to a full album once or twice is not enough unless you are very flexible musically.

Jing Ying Soloists

Evening Song: Traditional Chinese Instrumental Music ****
CD or Cassette
A good place to start tuning your ear to the Asian musical conventions.


The First Emperor of China ***

1991; VHS and laserdisc, 30 min.

Concentrating on the figures from the tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di (3rd C. BC), various experts discuss the significance and style of the findings. T2

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Ancient History of the Game of Go ***

Jan van der Steen here presents John Fairbairn's 1995 monograph on the early history and development of the boards and strategy of go. T3


Ancient Korean History ****


Ancient World Web *****!

Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.


Arts of China ***

A graphics-heavy site, including a monster to start with, so stop here when you have lots of time and the Web is empty.


Asian Art ***

Includes (as we do) Chinese, Tibetan, and Korean art.


Chinese Calligraphy ***

Gives examples of calligraphy, with the necessary graphics to load.


Dragons in Early China ***

Covers the early appearance and import of the dragon motif.


Feng Shui Made Easy ****

Cecil Lee in Singapore has accurately titled this site on Chinese geomancy. Many basic principles of dragon hills and tiger hills, dragon breath, chi, yin-yang, Chinese calendar, etc. are not only explained but shown with copious graphics. It will take time to load some pages, but it's worth the wait.


A Window on Korea *****!

Includes a lot on the history in several periods.


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