by Stella DongOld Peking, the walled capital from which the emperors of China ruled the Middle Kingdom, was a teeming, splendid and audaciously conceived city. Designed to express the transcendence of the emperor over all, the city consisted of walls within walls, at the very heart of which lay the precincts of the Forbidden City, the gilded and lacquered preserve of twenty-four successive Sons of Heaven.
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