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 and artistic 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. -- Asian Affairs, Sir Robin McLaren, former British ambassador to China
About the Author
Born in Shanghai and educated in Hong Kong, Malaysia and England, May Holdsworth has been writing about China since 1979. She has written numerous articles about Beijing, Jiangsu and Sichuan for various books and periodicals. In 1994 she researched and wrote the script for the television documentary film on the Forbidden City broadcast worldwide by The Discovery Channel the following year. Caroline Courtauld is a writer specializing in China and Burma, published photographer; and documentary film producer and researcher. Her publications, including books on Burma, Hong Kong and China, have focused on Asian travel, history and culture. For five years she worked with Jonathan Dimbleby and Francis Gerard on a BBC documentary project about Hong Kong in the period up to the transfer of sovereignty to China. Joint works include The Hong Kong Story; covering the history of the colony, which was published by Oxford University Press just before the handover of the colony to China in 1997. Hu Chui, resident photographer of the Palace Museum, Beijing, joined the museum studio in late 1978. Since then, his work has been published in dozens of pictorial albums and illustrated magazines, and exhibited in the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy.