- 149,00 kr
As China- the oldest continuous civilisation in existence- stands to become the most influential, with its economy expected to exceed that of the United States by 2020, Arthur Cotterell provides a panoramic sweep of an empire that lasted over two millennia through the imperial capitals that were the very foundations of each dynasty. Using original Chinese sources and eyewitness accounts he provides an inside view of the rich array of characters, political and ideological tensions, and technological genius that defined the imperial capitals of China, as each in turn is revealed, explored and celebrated.
From the cosmological foundations of the first capital to the politics of empire and cataclysmic civil wars, this absorbing new book offers a level of insight indispensible for a true understanding of China today.
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.