The Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City

The Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City

Hardback Peabody Essex Museum

By (author) Nancy Berliner, Contributions by Mark C. Elliott, Contributions by Liu Chang, Contributions by Bruce MacLaren, Contributions by Henry Tzu Ng, Contributions by Yuan Hongqi

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  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 248mm x 312mm x 28mm | 2,018g
  • Publication date: 9 November 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New Haven
  • ISBN 10: 0300163894
  • ISBN 13: 9780300163896
  • Illustrations note: 25 b/w + 267 color illus.
  • Sales rank: 1,051,410

Product description

For centuries, China's Forbidden City has captured the world's imagination. With parts open to the public since 1925, nearly 8 million tourists flock there annually. Yet the elegant, intimate Qianlong Garden-itself a "mini-Forbidden City" inside the Forbidden City-has remained sequestered from view. Dating from the 18th century, the Qianlong Garden was built as a retirement retreat for its namesake emperor, a visionary patron of the arts who designed his garden to reflect a perfect union of art, architecture, and nature. Now undergoing restoration thanks to a groundbreaking international collaboration, it is intended to be open fully to visitors in 2019. The Emperor's Private Paradise gives an unprecedented and in-depth analysis of the garden and its extravagant imperial interiors. Essays offer an overview of the history of Chinese gardens and the extraordinary reign of the Qianlong emperor, while contextualizing the importance of the Qianlong Garden and its artworks. This lavishly illustrated volume is published to accompany a remarkable exhibition of ninety objects from the Qianlong Garden, many of them never seen before, including superlative examples of Qing murals, paintings, wall coverings, furniture, architectural elements, and jades. By illuminating this little-known yet architecturally significant area of the Forbidden City, this volume represents a major contribution to the fields of Chinese art, history, architecture, and gardens.

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Author information

Nancy Berliner is curator of Chinese art at the Peabody Essex Museum, and an interpretive and curatorial consultant to the World Monuments Fund for the Qianlong Garden restoration project.

Review quote

"The essays, chronologies, maps, photographs, and related discussions by leading American and Chinese scholars combine to make this book extremely useful as well as attractive."-Barrymore Laurence Scherer, Antiques -- Barrymore Laurence Scherer Antiques "Finely researched."-Jonathan Spence, The New York Review of Books -- Jonathan Spence The New York Review of Books