The Imperial Capitals of China: A Dynastic History of the Celestial Empire [NOOK Book]


More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
The Imperial Capitals of China: A Dynastic History of the Celestial Empire

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99 price


More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

China's cities, notes Cotterell (China: A Cultural History), played an important role in symbolizing the legitimacy of a new regime; upstart emperors spent untold treasure and lives on building magnificent capitals, carefully laid out on principles of cosmology and feng shui, to demonstrate their assumption of the Mandate of Heaven. These cities furnish the author with splendid panoramas of 2,300 years of Chinese civilization. Working with maps, photos, reproductions of Chinese art and literary accounts, he recreates the cosmopolitanism of medieval Chang'an, the commercial bustle of Song dynasty Hangzhou and the sublime architecture of Beijing's Forbidden City. These set pieces frame a sprightly history of China up to the founding of the republic. Cotterell elucidates large-scale themes-the long seesaw battle between China and its nomadic neighbors, the Confucian scholar-bureaucracy's struggle to control the state, and the cycle of imperial despotism and peasant revolt-while sketching a picaresque chronicle of dynastic succession and court intrigue, complete with overmighty eunuchs and scheming concubines. The result is a fine evocation of China as both a place and a story. 46 b&w photos and maps. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
From British scholar Cotterell (Chariot: The Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine, 2005, etc), a thoroughgoing history of China's ruling dynasties and their extraordinary achievements in architecture. The author's knowledge of Chinese dynasties is nearly encyclopedic, and readers are assumed to have a basic grounding in the chronology. Imperial capitals were laid out according to cosmic principles, and Cotterell jumps right in to explain the cosmology of northern China's ancient Shang kings, who established the capital in Anyang across the Yellow River on the advice of divination. The first emperor, in 256 BCE, was the energetic Qin Shi Huang Di, who was much influenced by Daoism and the Five Elements; he commissioned extensive building, from the Great Wall and the national road system to a grand palace called Er Fang and his famous terracotta army at Mount Li. The Qin dynasty, under the sway of Confucianism, moved between Xianyang and Chang'an. The subsequent Han dynasty moved to Luoyang, the second largest city in the world after Rome. After the invasion of the steppe people, the Jin abandoned Luoyang in favor of Nanjing, though it never attained the glory of the previous imperial capitals. During the Sui and Tang dynasties, Chang'an flourished without rival in the world. The war of succession among the Five Dynasties gave rise to Zhang Zeduan's legendary painting of the thriving city of Kaifeng, Spring Festival on the River, reproduced in part here. Hangzhou, capital of the seagoing Southern Song, in the 13th century fell to Mongol invaders; their capital at Dadu (later called Beijing) was admiringly portrayed by Marco Polo. The Ming dynasty that followed ruled atfirst from Nanjing, but in the early 15th century returned the capital to Beijing, enriched by the construction of the emperor Yongle's Purple Forbidden City. Cotterell's work takes the traveler deep into the fascinating recesses of each dynasty. A challenging but valuable companion for the traveler to China.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468306057
  • Publisher: Overlook
  • Publication date: 5/29/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Arthur Cotterell combines a career in education with an extensive background in ancient civilizations.  His previous books include The Minoan World and The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilization.


Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Ancient Origins c. 1650 B.C. onwards

1 The Cosmology of the Chinese Capital 19

Pt. 2 The Early Empire 221 B.C.-A.D. 589

2 The First Imperial Capitals: Qin Xianyang and Former Han Chang'an 41

3 A Restored Dynasty: Later Han Luoyang 65

4 A Divided China: Nanjing, Pingcheng, and Luoyang 81

Pt. 3 The Middle Empire 589-1368

5 Reunification: Sui and Tang Chang'an 111

6 Dynastic Decline: Late Tang Chang'an 133

7 Almost Paradise: Northern Song Kaifeng 153

8 Holding On: Southern Song Hangzhou 177

9 The Mongol Conquest: Yuan Beijing 199

Pt. 4 The Late Empire 1368-1912

10 The Chinese Recovery: Ming Nanjing and Beijing 223

11 The Last Imperial Capital: Qing Beijing 251

Chronologies: The Imperial Dynasties 279

The Emperors and Their Reigns 280

Notes and References 289

Index 293

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)