The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City in the middle of Beijing (Peking) has been the hub of imperial China since the 15th century. A city within a city, its high red walls enclosed the centre of government, the imperial palace, huge lakes dotted with islands and pleasure-boats, workshops producing clothing, furniture and fittings and luxury items for the court and a zoo. For hundreds of years, eunuchs served their imperial masters, taking control of the flow of administrative documents and all the daily needs of the emperors and palace women. This lively introduction vividly evokes the colourful characters and strictly prescribed rituals that went on behind the city's closed walls. In the 16th and 17th centuries, a tiny number of foreign envoys, from the Persian Gulf and from Holland, described the discomforts of waiting for hours in the freezing cold to catch a glimpse of the Emperor in his yellow silk sedan chair, and it was not until the very end of the 19th century that ordinary westerners managed to penetrate the Forbidden City. This book allows you to do just that, under the guidance of one of its most learned and enthusiastic admirers.
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Officials and eunuchs
Banquets and bedchambers
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altars Beijing BM OA Buddhist building built cakes Castiglione centre China Chinese Cixi's colour concubines consorts construction courtyard decorated diplomatic dishes dragons Dutch early Qing eaves Empress Dowager Cixi enclosure eunuchs Fang see note fire flowers Forbidden City foreign garden Guangxu emperor Heavenly Purity Hong Kong Hongxing see note Ibid imperial family imperial household Inner Court inner palace Jesuit Jiajing Jiajing emperor Kangxi emperor Korean Lady lake last emperor Manchu mandarins Meridian Gate Ming emperor Mongols Nanjing officials outer court painting Palace of Earthly Palace of Heavenly Palace of Tranquil palace servants palace women pavilion porcelain portrait princes Princess Der Ling pronounced Puyi Qianlong emperor Qing dynasty Rawski see note Reginald Johnston reign rituals roofs Sea Palaces sec note Shunzhi emperor silk Taoist Temple of Heaven tiles timber Tranquil Longevity Tsai walls Wanli emperor Western Xuande emperor yellow Yongle emperor Yongzheng emperor Yuan Zhang Hongxing