Two years ago our revered elder statesman Kenneth Scott Latourette gave us a comprehensive review of the development during the last few decades of studies in the United States of the Sinic world. In a sense I wish to follow in his footsteps, on the one hand broadening the base to include studies by people of all nationalities, and on the other narrowing it or restricting it to cover only one branch of the many fields of learning represented by our membership. For good reasons too I limit the discussion to China alone. Not that important discoveries have not been made elsewhere, from the Indus River to the island of Hokkaido and from Siberia to the Maldive Islands, many of them bearing importantly on the growth of civilization amongst the Chinese people; a Han crossbow lock in Taxila, T'ang cash at Anuradhapura, a rock-cut representation of a Sung junk at Angkor, a late Han bronze at Oc-Eo, pre-Han silk in the frozen graves of the Altai, Ch'i state coins of the third century B.C. in northern Korea, and tenth-century block printing in the bosom of the lovely Buddhist statue which Chōnen brought back to Japan from Pien-liang in the year 985. All these and many more were discoveries of recent years in the regions now included in the Association for Asian Studies. One might, if desired, construct a much wider horizon, and so take in the Han dynasty hu or vase found in Dane John at Canterbury and now a prized possession of the British Museum, or Sung to Ming porcelain turned up at Fostat and the Kilwa Islands off the coast of Tanganyika, and the items of presumed Chinese inspiration discovered on the west coast of Central America and in Peru. But this would take us far afield, interesting though the subject may be. They show us how mobile the early Chinese were, or, if not the people themselves, certainly the work of their fingers, and how valued it was, giving tongue to the comment of Abū Zayd Ḥasan (ca. 916): “Amongst all the creatures of Allah, the Chinese have the cleverest hands at designing and creating things: for the execution of all manner of works there is no people in the world who can do better than they.”

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