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Book of Empires5-©-Haiwei-Hu-Getty-1

Inside the Forbidden City and its Fascinating Architecture

A collector’s edition takes readers inside China’s imperial landmark

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©World Monuments Fund

China’s magnificent and mysterious Forbidden City has fascinated the world for over six centuries, drawing in visitors, researchers, and scholars eager to explore its storied legacy. Built by the Yongle Emperor to serve as the seat of the Ming Dynasty, the imperial compound included 900 buildings that housed thousands of residents.

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The palace’s fascinating architecture is more than just visually spectacular, however. It’s a deeply symbolic expression of ancient Chinese philosophy. At its core is the union between nature and humanity, rooted in traditional beliefs of peace and harmony. The palace’s architectural lines reflect this harmonious balance, from the symmetrical layout of the golden-roofed buildings to the south-north axis of the main road that points visitors towards Heaven.

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All these wonders of architecture are documented in Forbidden City: The Palace at the Heart of Chinese Culture by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Johnson, published as part of Assouline’s Ultimate Collection. Over 100 photographs, works of art, and historical artifacts are presented on art-quality pages, spanning 600 years of imperial history and tradition. Printed using traditional hand book-binding techniques and hand-tipped colour plates, the limited-edition volume comes packaged in a box reminiscent of Chinese lacquerware and features a carved map of the Forbidden City’s grounds.

 

This story is from Magnifissance Issue 110

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