Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644–1912

Edited by Daisy Yiyou Wang and Jan Stuart; With essays and entries by Daisy Yiyou Wang, Jan Stuart, Lin Shu, Luk Yu-ping, Ying-chen Peng, Evelyn S. Rawski, and Ren Wanping

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A fascinating look at the life and times of empresses in the Qing dynasty

Empresses in the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) played an influential role in the imperial court and the cosmopolitan culture of their time. Offering compelling insights into the material culture, activities, and living spaces of Qing empresses, this lavishly illustrated book features over one hundred spectacular works of art from the Palace Museum in Beijing—including large-scale portraits, court robes, and richly decorated Buddhist sutras—that bring the splendor of the Qing court to life. A series of insightful essays examines the fascinating ways that key imperial women engaged with art, religion, and politics. This unprecedented exploration of the Qing court from the perspective of its royal women is an important new contribution to our understanding of Chinese art and history. 

Daisy Yiyou Wang is the Robert N. Shapiro Curator of Chinese and East Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum. Jan Stuart is the Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. 


Peabody Essex Museum

Freer|Sackler, Smithsonian Institution

“For all its splendor, ‘Empresses’ is a gratifyingly rigorous show. Qing-era historians left only bare-bones outlines of women’s lives, and both the exhibition and a hefty catalog use clothing, paintings and the decorative arts to fill in big gaps in the Chinese historical record.”—Jason Farago, New York Times
ISBN: 9780300237085
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Peabody Essex Museum and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
264 pages, 9 1/2 x 12
226 color + b/w illus.
Chinese Society in the Eighteenth Century

Susan Naquin and Evelyn S. Rawski

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