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Portraits of Cixi
Date of Review: 
Chitralekha Basu
China Daily

Few women have had as long and uninterrupted sway over Chinese politics and society as Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908). Her story is more fraught and high-octane than the finest Peking Opera, of which she was a connoisseur, and continues to inspire serious research.

Two new books have added to the ever-growing discourse on the "true story" of the Empress Dowager, whose first biography, by the American artist Katharine Carl, who was also her first portraitist, appeared in 1905.