Emperor Ch'ien-lung, who ruled China from 1736 to 1795, amassed an extensive collection of Chinese art which today forms the core of the holdings of the National Palace Museum, Taipei. Drawing on this rich resource, this work provides a history of imperial Chinese art and culture from the Neolithic period to 18th century. It reproduces some of the great monuments of Chinese culture: key works by leading calligraphers of the T'ang dynasty, life-size imperial portraits from the Sung to the Ming period, and some of the finest examples of imperial ceramics, textiles and other decorative arts from the Sung to the Ch'ing dynasty. The authors also offers a cultural and historical context for the art, focusing on both the evolution of Chinese civilization and the cultural dynamics of the country's history. The book accompanies a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, New York (from March 1996), and subsequently in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC.