Beijing's Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, is steeped in history, dreams and tears, which are perfectly reflected in Ah! The Forbidden City.
Li Shaobai's photos and Jiang Guofang's paintings, in the book published in English by the Foreign Languages Press, are both easy on the eye and provide food for though
Painter Jiang, meanwhile, tries to revive the lives of the former inhabitants of the Forbidden City on canvas, getting into the minds of these historical figures.
Jiang also has an eye for pretty palace women, including the empress, concubines and princesses. Although they dressed in gorgeous clothes and ate delicious food, they were spiritually bereft. With so many women serving one man, few of them had the chance to be with the emperor. Their rooms were often empty and perhaps the high walls and deep courtyards were like gilded cages to them.