"Jeannette Shambaugh Elliott and David Shambaugh weave information and insights from both oral and documentary sources into a fascinating and authoritative account of the vicissitudes of this incomparably greatest of all assemblages of Chinese art."
-James Cahill, Professor Emeritus, History of Art, University of California-Berkeley
"The dramatic story of the formation and preservation of China's collection of national art treasures, now preserved in the state museums of Beijing and Taipei, is a true saga. It is a tale of adventure, intrigue, danger, mystery, and idealistic determination that resulted in the miraculous preservation of one of the world's greatest art collections."
-Richard M. Barnhart, The John M. Schiff Professor Emeritus of Art History, Yale University
"The first book-length study of the history of imperial collecting, this accessible account illuminates the vital role of the fine arts in China's political identity. The narrative of the transformation of the imperial palace and its furnishings into two great museums will fascinate both specialists and general readers."
-Alfreda Murck, author of Poetry and Painting in Song China
"A master narrative of the political life of art objects in China, from early Shang-dynasty bronze vessels to the remnant collections of the last Qing emperor now belonging to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan and the Palace Museum in Beijing. . . . The study is the first to present an extended account in English of the travails of creating, compiling, and protecting a national patrimony in tumultuous twentieth-century China."
"The story is enriched with the personalities and events that shaped the collections over the centuries, and the details of the study provide an informative background for specialists, students, and connoisseurs. This is a fascinating, enlightening study of a little-known subject. Highly recommended."