The contemporary Western view of Manchu China: Edmund Backhouse and J.O.P.Bland’s China under the Empress Dowager (1910)

 My reading over the last few weeks has been very much focussed on a number of accounts dealing with the last- and arguably greatest- of the Manchu Empress Dowager, Cixi, or Tzu Hsi (1835-1908). Tzu-Hsi is a fascinating figure by whatever measure- a concubine on entry into the Forbidden City, she became the birth mother…