China's building traditions are among the most ancient in the world, yet Western scholars have paid less attention to the country's architecture than to its painting and sculpture. This may be due in part to the fact that architectural study requires extensive field research. Moreover, the technical vocabulary associated with Chinese architecture, formidable even to native-born scholars, is more complicated than the vocabularies of other fields.

Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt is the leading English-language scholar of Chinese architectural history. Her many books have served as guides for other scholars and as dictionaries that have better enabled Chinese scholars to communicate with their Western peers. Her latest book, Chinese Architecture:...

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