Elephants and Golden Thrones: Inside China's Forbidden City

Elephants and Golden Thrones: Inside China's Forbidden City

by Ellen B. Senisi, Trish Marx, Xiong Lei
     
 

A rare look inside one of the wonders of the world, published in time for the 2008 Olympics in China

For five hundred years, the Forbidden City was the seat of power of China’s emperors. Given rare access to this vast and beautiful complex, Trish Marx and Ellen B. Senisi explore its secrets in full-color photographs and lively, meticulously researched

Overview


A rare look inside one of the wonders of the world, published in time for the 2008 Olympics in China

For five hundred years, the Forbidden City was the seat of power of China’s emperors. Given rare access to this vast and beautiful complex, Trish Marx and Ellen B. Senisi explore its secrets in full-color photographs and lively, meticulously researched stories. From a grand procession of elephants to the golden nail guards that protected the emperor’s three-inch nails, details large and small bring this fortress to life for young armchair travelers.

With contributions from the Palace Museum (the official museum of the Forbidden City), this is a definitive guide and the only book on the subject available for young readers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The once Forbidden City is now open to the public. The day we visited there were tourists everywhere. What is mind boggling is the size of this palace. It takes more than an hour just to walk straight through. There is so much to see that you almost become numb to the gorgeous building and artifacts including jewelry, clothing, furnishings, carvings, paintings and so much more. Having been in person to see the Golden Thrones, it was with great delight that I had an opportunity to read Marx's book. Now I could learn more and look at it all in a more relaxed and thoughtful pace. The foreword by the Forbidden City's, or the Palace Museum's, executive deputy director sets the stage. Open the following pages and let these fabulous treasures fill your senses. The photographs by Senisi are wonderful, and you can really enjoy this armchair tour starting in the predawn and early beginning of the palace and ending with the last emperor and a nighttime scene. You will see an imperial palace that served Chinese emperors for more than 500 years, and once understanding its beginnings, you will learn of its present-day status as the world's largest museum. In addition to an informative text and wonderful pictures, the book has been designed to rest on your coffee table to entice others to open the cover. Great care has gone into the layout including a red and gold border on each page that echoes the colors depicted on the jacket. Read the book; enjoy the history and photographs; and don't miss an opportunity to visit this incredible museum in person. Extra details such as a timeline, glossary and bibliography will enrich your enjoyment. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6- The Forbidden City is a vast and magnificent palace complex. Wandering through this huge site, visitors often wonder about the people, royal and otherwise, who lived there during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Marx begins the history with Yongle, the Ming emperor who moved the government from Nanjing to Beijing and ordered the construction of the colossal structure in 1407. She brings the Forbidden City to life by telling stories about six different royal inhabitants from Zhengde, "one of the worst emperors in Chinese history," to Puyi, who became a pawn of the invading Japanese. Royal women take their rightful place with a look at the funeral of Princess Su as well as a relatively tame description of the preparations made by the notorious Empress Dowager Cixi to start each day. Each short tale is followed by straightforward but lively factual text that provides information about the palace and the lives of its inhabitants. Even the eunuchs, including a no-nonsense explanation of their condition and the reason for it, are included. Beautiful drawings and photographs, some provided by the Palace Museum and some taken for this book, lend color and provide additional information. Of particular note are the photos of the interiors of buildings, a number of which are not regularly open to the public. A book with surefire appeal to anyone interested in China's history and culture.-Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA

Kirkus Reviews
This complex mixture of history and stories from seven important periods in the life of the Forbidden City attempts to bring that astonishing place directly to young readers. With its dense text and photo captions in small type, it may best be suited for a traveler going to China. Each section starts with a story based on historical sources (sometimes told from unusual viewpoints such as an elephant or a princess's ghost) and ends with a description of a specific Imperial era. In an almost hidden note, Marx states that the stories are based on books listed in the bibliography, but there are no specific source notes. The lack of a table of contents and an index makes it difficult to use the book for research. Senisi's modern photos and images and art reproductions from the Palace Museum's collection are striking, but the paintings are not dated. Very attractive but flawed. (foreword, timeline, glossary, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810994850
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
05/28/2008
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
10.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Trish Marx is the author of many award-winning nonfiction books, including Everglades Forever. She lives in New York City.

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