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Splendors of China's Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong Hardcover – February 1, 2004
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About the Author
Chuimei Ho is an independent scholar specializing in Chinese decorative arts and Adjunct Curator of Chinese Archaeology and Art at The Field Museum, Chicago. Bennet Bronson is Curator of Asian Archaeology and Ethnology at The Field Museum, Chicago.
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I have a few words to the court art of Qing dynasty: The stereotype of the art flavor in the middle of Qing dynasty is obvious. It produces a great number of delicate art pieces, which lacks of spirit and artistic impulse. The suppressive atmosphere of politics in that period is intense, which produced a large quantity of art-craftsmen but very few geniuses. Most of the pieces in this book were produced by the art-craftsmen --- Beautiful but not touching!
Compare to "China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795", this book contains more descriptions, which makes readers to understand more details about the pieces of art.
Downside: the price of this book is very high! Many pictures are very small!
In this book it discuss the origins of the Manchurian and where they originated from and how they ascended the imperial throne of China and ruled over a nation with the largest human population of their time. A country that has been known for its inventions and a long history dating back to early beginning of Chinese civilization.
This book talks about the Emperor Qian Long and the reign that brought China prosperity and peace. The centuries before that, relations between the Han Chinese and the Manchurians were a little bit unstable. However during Qian Long's reign the country became stable. The country prospered, the relations been the Han Chinese and the Manchurian wasn't as much strained. There are wonderful photographs of robes and jewellry worn by the empror and his wives and family members. Also sections talk about traditions that were Manchurian and others that were created through generations like the wearing of triple earrings by the women. The large headdresses worn by the Manchurian court ladies and the emperor's wives, princesses etc... which in the beginning weren't even of Manchurian origin that has become part of a iconic tradition often associated with the Ching Dynasty. The dragon robe worn by the emperor and the long queues kept by Emperor and the Han Chinese subjects were made to conform to practice which became the stereo type associated with the West in regards to the Chinese.
The book also talks about the private lives of the Emperor Qian Long and his wives and also day to day business and affairs. There are so many artifacts that belonged to Qian Long like his own personal things like brushes, ink stone, wooden lacqured screens, throne, and crockery as well as gold and silver utinsels used by him when dining.
The information was vast in book and who can ever get bored reading it. Each page I turn it gets more interesting. From the personal life through to the day to day business affairs etc... The book contains wonderful collection of paintings and also a few old photographs of the imperial residences before the turn of the 20th century. This is a lovely book even though its a little bit bigger than most books and a little bit more heavier. However its guaranteed that its worth while too to have a look and have a read in regards to one of the great rulers of Chinese history.