This rich blend of history, anecdotal narrative, biographical portraits and illustrations evokes 500 years of imperial China through the story of its palace, the Forbidden City.
It describes the emperor's ceremonial life, the stultifying world of his concubines, eunuchs and palace maids, and the devastating impact of the West in the late 19th century. A new chapter deals with the treasures and paintings collected under imperial patronagetheir dramatic dispersal, painstaking recovery and restorationand ends in the triumphant establishment of the Palace Museum.
Introduction by pre-eminent China scholar Jonathan Spence; explains the rich history of the home of the Chinese emperor; draws on previously inaccessible information in Beijing; explores the lifestyles behind the Forbidden City's walls; extensive quotes from early days, including views from palace maids and eunuchs; detailed map of the Forbidden City's layout. 110 full-color photos; 10 maps & plans