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The Lives of Chinese Objectsis a fascinating book. It is the result of excellent historical research as well as curatorial expertise. The reader is taken on an amazing journey starting with the startling discovery of the image of five Chinese bronzes on display as part of the Great Exhibition in 1851...The stories uncovered are riveting, a mix of curatorial detail and description, historical research and theoretical analysis. This book is beautifully written - clear, detailed and informative. The author is ever present in the text and the book is as much a story of her journey, as it is a story of the lives of the 'Putuo Five'. I just wanted to keep reading." * Suzanne MacLeod, University of Leicester This is the biography of a set of rare Buddhist statues from China. Their extraordinary adventures take them from the Buddhist temples of fifteenth-century Putuo - China's most important pilgrimage island - to their seizure by a British soldier in the First Opium War in the early 1840s, and on to a starring role in the Great Exhibition of 1851. In the 1850s, they moved in and out of dealers' and antiquarian collections, arriving in 1867 at Liverpool Museum. Here they were re-conceptualized as specimens of the 'Mongolian race' and, later, as examples of Oriental art. The statues escaped the bombing of the Museum during the Second World War and lived out their existence for the next sixty years, dismembered, corroding and neglected in the stores, their histories lost and origins unknown. As the curator of Asian collections at Liverpool Museum, the author became fascinated by these bronzes, and selected them for display in the Buddhism section of the World Cultures gallery. In 2005, quite by chance, the discovery of a lithograph of the figures on prominent display in the Great Exhibition enabled the remarkable lives of these statues to be reconstructed.