The Forbidden City The Great Within
This chronicle of the Forbidden City, a rich blend of history, anecdotal narrative, biographical portraits and illustrations, carries readers through 500 years of imperial China. Much of the material for this volume, produced in collaboration with a documentary film, was collected after unprecedented access to the historical archives in Beijing, making this a truly unique book.
Few can fail to wonder about what it was like to live and work in the palace in the days when all political power was concentrated there. This handsome volume.will provide fresh insights for the visitor or anyone curious about such matters. Its stunning photographs and illustrations suggest the coffee table, but the text is not just for skimming. Short but informative essays deal among other things with the history and layout of the palace; the role of the emperor and the ceremonial and symbolism associated with his office; the Jesuit fathers who infiltrated the system, valued for their scientific skills but not for their faith; and the private lives of the emperors, their consorts and concubines, and the hundreds of eunuchs and serving maids who kept the system running.
- Robin McLaren in Asian Affairs