From the time of the Shang Emperors in the third century B.C., Chinese emperors have designed their imperial capitals in ways that reveal the heart and characted of their dynasty. Throughout a long and storied history peopled by countless races, nationalities, and faiths, building design and urban planning have divulged the religious preoccupations, cultural influences, and social values of each period.
The Imperial Capitals of China is rich in physical detail of each marvelous historical city as well as in its stories of the personalities and politics of its erstwhile inhabitants. The Tang capital at Chang'an demonstrates the striking creativity and cultural receptiveness that earmark the ear as a literary and artistic golden age. The Forbidden City of fifteenth century Beijing still stands as a testament to Ming dynasty architectural virtuosity.
Arthur Cotterell provides an inside view of the characters, political and ideological tensions, and technological genius that defined the imperial cities of China, as each in turn uncovered, explored and celebrated. From the foundations of the oldest civilization still in existence to the clashes of empire and cataclysmic wars of conquest, The Imperial Capitals of China offers a level of insight indispensable for a true understanding of China today.