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152 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995© 1995 by University ofHawai'i Press are the possible minimal and political conditions needed to establish the "rule oflaw" in China? Are the issues of "government oflaws, and not men" and the "mediation of interests," or "balancing of interests" exclusively tied to the specific history of particular forms of capitalist development? Must die "rule of law" imply a singular conception ofchecks and balances such as the "separation ofpowers" by which to delimit arbitrary government? Is it possible in contemporary China to generate a new social perspective on the law without resort to the pitfalls of "wholesale Westernisation"? Can CCP mass-line theory make a positive contribution to the development of checks and balances under a Chinese "socialist rule of law"? (p. 38) Keith has laid die groundwork. We now know what the Chinese are saying. Next, we need to evaluate it, decide what to make of it, and respond accordingly. R. P. Peerenboom Freshfields Solicitors (Beijing) MM Ronald Knapp. Chinese Bridges. Images ofAsia Series. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1993. vi, 78 pp. Hardcover $15.95. Fifty-six years have passed since die last serious study ofChinese bridges in the English language by engineer Hegle Fugl-Meyer (Chinese Bridges [Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, Ltd., 1937]). Even amid die explosion ofpublications about every aspect ofChinese culture in the last decade, only two noteworthy studies ofdie Chinese bridge have been written (Pan Hongxuan, Zhongguo degu ming qiao [Shanghai: Xinhua Shudian, 1985] and Tang Huancheng, Zhongguo gudai qiaoliang [Beijing: Wenwu Chubanshe, 1987]). The significance of Ronald Knapp's Chinese Bridges, however, is much more than additional material on this understudied subject. In a pocket-sized book of fewer than one hundred pages, Ronald Knapp has introduced die major monuments of Chinese bridge building to his reader and has shown die Chinese bridge to be a technical achievement that is in some instances far advanced in comparison to its Western contemporary counterparts. In addition, a diesis ofthis book is diat die Chinese bridge is an art form. This idea, die elevation of the bridge to membership among the Chinese arts, is the unique contribution of Chinese Bridges. Following a brief introduction, Knapp has divided his book into six chapters. Already in chapter 1 he makes it clear that the art ofbridge building is to be one ofhis main diemes. The Chinese bridge is introduced as a utilitarian structure which, Reviews 153 like buildings or the walls that enclose them, is integrally linked widi aesthetics. The author tells us that bridge construction is as much an art of craftsmen as the product ofengineers and that bridges are conspicuous in Chinese landscape paintings. Indeed, the bridge in the landscape is a subject uniquely captured in diis book. Knapp is both a geographer and an excellent photographer, and the thirty-seven illustrations, mostly his own photographs, are exemplary ofthe eye of someone conscious ofboth the landscape and its details. Several, in fact, seem to have emerged from Chinese ink paintings. Chapter 1 also introduces the major types of Chinese bridges: stone steps ("turtie bridges"), wooden beams, rainbow bridges, trestle bridges, and suspension bridges. Chapter 2, the longest in the book, is a historical and typological survey of stone bridges in China. Stone, ofcourse, is a more permanent building material than wood, and, as Knapp explains, it therefore replaced wood, die standard material for all varieties ofabove-ground Chinese architecture. The majority ofexamples of stone bridges comes from the southeastern Chinese provinces, where, in fact, the greatest number survive. Some ofthese, the author tells us, were introduced to North China in replicate by the Qianlong emperor. Also introduced in chapter 2 are China's two best-known pre-Qing stone bridges, Anji Bridge in Zhao prefecture, Hebei, and Lugouqiao (also known as Marco Polo Bridge, since the late twelfth-century monument was described in the Italian merchant's writings ) just southwest of Beijing. Anji Bridge fittingly is the only Chinese bridge diat receives its own chapter in this book. Completed in 605 under the supervision of a man named Li Chun, this first segmental-arched bridge in stone is seen as part ofa vision ofmonumental construction throughout China...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 152-154
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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