Caixin
Apr 04, 2015 03:51 PM

The Porcelain Thief: Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China

In understanding China, family stories offer a portrayal both public and intimate that are an indispensable complement to books written in a more scholarly vein.

But not all families are the same and much depends on who tells the story. Huan Hsu is an author and journalist born in California and raised in Ohio – an American, as far as he is concerned, without hyphenation. Although Hsu's parents were born in China and raised in Taiwan, he does not speak the language and is not acquainted with his ancestors' heritage, until a chance visit to the Seattle Art Museum, which boasts one of the finest collections of Chinese art in the United States, spurs his curiosity. And it is then that he learns of his great-great grandfather's collection of porcelain, buried in haste during the war as the family fled from the Japanese invaders.

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