Part Two of the book begins thus: "Out of dreams are born things of beauty." Less fragile than flesh, such things endure, often for a long time, often seemingly indestructible. The things of beauty dealt with in this book are Chinese antiques. Part One of the book, mystery-like, tells how a Hongkong millionaire, looking for a pair of giant porcelain vases at a New York antiques shop, disappears and how later his remains are discovered in the vases, and how a number of antiques are ruined, along with his death. Part Two of the book tells about those ruined antiques: their origins and their vicissitudes in the hands of various owners through various dynasties and centuries.