Emiko Usui is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (June 2019)

IN THE REVIEW

Mothers of the State

Katharine A. Carl: Empress Dowager Cixi, 1903

Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644–1912

an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, August 18, 2018–February 10, 2019; and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C., March 30–June 23, 2019
An enormous portrait of the Chinese empress dowager Cixi, arguably the most powerful woman in Chinese history, stands in the entrance hall of the Sackler Gallery as an introduction to “Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644–1912,” an exhibition of more than two hundred objects from the Palace Museum in Beijing …