The Art of Central Asia.
The Stein Collection in the British Museum. Tokyo Kodansha International 1982-1985
First edition in English, three volumes, folio, pp.344; 358; 362, 270 colour plates, 438 illustrations. One of 550 sets in English. A fine set in original silk slip-cases.
A magnificently illustrated set depicting the art removed from Dunhuang by Stein and now preserved in the British Museum. Ninety packing cases from Stein's 1906-07 expedition were delivered to the British Museum in 1909. Unpacking and conservation took several years. Stein was not the first European to reach Dunhuang, nor the first to remove treasures from China. But, sponsored by the Government of India and The British Museum, he was impelled to collect on a vast scale justifying his action "with the sad proofs of progressive damage before my eyes, I could feel no doubt that, as local protection was out of the question, careful removal of as much of these mural paintings as circumstances would permit and artistic or iconographic interest would warrant, offered the only means of assuring their security." The first two volumes are devoted to the paintings of Dunhuang, the third to textiles, sculpture and other arts.