The extraordinary wealth and power of the Ming Dynasty is celebrated in a handscroll depicting the annual procession of the Emperor and his Court to the Imperial tombs nearly 30 miles from the walled city of Peking.
Ceremonial guards keep watch along the banks of the route...
while the Emperor himself is depicted seated in splendor on a ceremonial barge.
This is just one section of a nearly 100-foot-long silk scroll, which would have taken a team of anonymous court artists years to complete. As an idealized demonstration of Imperial splendor and power, as well as a depiction of an ancient ritual, the work would have been for Court eyes only.