Chinese Emperors is a beautifully illustrated volume that presents concise biographies of more than a hundred important emperors and other leaders, describing their influence on the troubled evolution of what today has become one of the greatest nations in the world. Highly readable, and full of fascinating anecdotes, the book takes the reader through thousands of years of evolution during which what we now know as China developed from a country that alternated between periods of calm and prosperity and conflict and oppression.
The pen-portraits reveal how many of the emperors (and the empresses, the warlords, the dukes, and princes) took an active part in establishing the many facets of Chinese culture, while others gorged themselves in opulent self-gratification. On the one hand they speak of bloody internal rebellions punctuated with major international wars and border skirmishes. On the other, they describe how, against a backdrop of devastating natural disasters such as floods, plagues, and famine, many of the leaders concerned themselves with the well-being of their essentially peasant subjects.
The book covers the period from about the 21st Century BC to 1912, when China became a republic, and the entries are arranged roughly chronologically within the major dynasties. The illustrations include many dramatic paintings, contemporary portraits, and photographs of exquisite artifacts. In all, a most attractive and interesting work of reference.
|Product dimensions:||8.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Ma Yan grew up and was educated in Beijing, China. She moved to England in 1998 to study for a masters degree in publishing, and has worked in publishing since graduating. She often returns to China to continue her exploration of local heritage and culture. After witnessing the enormous and fast changes in recent years, the memories of China’s past remain ingrained as an intoxicating interest. She is a history lover and is deeply attached to Chinese culture as well as the origins of Chinese rituals. She has written another book about local Beijing history and currently lives in New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is well-illustrated in terms of the Ming and Qing emperors' costumes. However, this book loses its authority and is unprofessional due to typographical errors--Emperor Kangxi is mispelled as "Gangxi" and minister as "minster." Two emperors--Shu and Shu Houzhu--have the same reign periods from 181-234. How could that be possible? So the historical facts are errorenous as well. Did the author do a complete spell check before the book went into publication?
You would have thought that if the book is going to be published, the publisher would be bothered to get it edited.
There is a big mistake on page 80: the illustration with readings: Cao Cao (kneeling) with Liu Bei....Apparently, Ma Yan did not know what she/he is talking about. The kneeling man was indeed Cao Cao, however, the man lying on the day-bed was NOT Liu Bei, but rather the famous and notorious Dong Zhuo! This is a well known story from Chinese classic novel "The Three Kingdoms" that everyone in China knows. Cao Cao was going to assassinate Dong Zhuo, a cruel and evil officer under the Emperor Han Xian Di. Cao Cao brought the knife with him and just as he pulled out the knife to kill, the step son of Dong, Bu (a brave and mighty general), came in. Fearing for his life, Cao immediately lifted the knife avove his head and pretended that he had broght the knife (a special sword) as a gift to prsent to Dong Zhuo. Cao fled immediately after the failed assassination when both Dong Zhuo and Bu realized his plot. This is the famous story: "Cao Cao Presents The Sword to Dong Zhuo".
This is a very good book to get a broad overview of the Chinese Emperors for the past 3,000 years. Short history of most all of the emperors, plus many great illustrations and photos.