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Screen of Kings is the first book in any language to examine the cultural role of the regional aristocracy - relatives of the emperors - in Ming dynasty China (1368 - 1644). Through an analysis of their patronage of architecture, calligraphy, painting and other art forms, and through a study of the contents of their splendid and recently-excavated tombs, this innovative study puts the aristocracy back at the heart of accounts of China's culture, from which they have been excluded until very recently. Screen of Kings challenges much of the received wisdom about Ming China. Craig Clunas sheds new light on many familiar artworks, as well as work that have never before been reproduced. New archaeological discoveries have furnished the author with evidence of the lavish and spectacular lifestyles of these provincial princes and demonstrate how central the imperial family was to the high culture of the Ming era. Written by the leading specialist in the art and culture of the Ming period, this book will illuminate a key aspect of China's past, and will significantly alter our understanding of the Ming. It will be enjoyed by anyone with a serious interest in the history and art of this great civilization.