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Clashes with Mongols were nearly incessant. During the first decades of the dynasty, the Mongols were driven north to Outer Mongolia present-day Mongolia , but the Ming could not claim a decisive victory.

From then onward the Ming were generally able to maintain their northern border, though by the later stages of the dynasty it in effect only reached the line of the Great Wall.

On the northeast, the Juchen Chinese: Nüzhen, or Ruzhen , who rose in the northeast around the end of the 16th century, pressed the Ming army to withdraw successively southward, and eventually the Ming made the east end of the Great Wall their last line of defense.

But the brief occupation of Vietnam was met with determined local guerrilla resistance, and the Ming government quickly decided to restore the boundary to its original line.

It never again attempted to push southward. Also during the Ming, Japan became more aggressive. In the 15th century Japanese raiders teamed up with Chinese pirates to make coastal raids in Chinese waters, which were of a relatively small scale but were still highly disruptive to Chinese coastal cities.

The Ming government was gradually weakened by factionalism between civil officials, interference by palace eunuchs, the burdens of a growing population, and a succession of weak and inattentive emperors.

The Manchu drove out Li Zicheng and then remained, establishing the Qing dynasty. Despite the many foreign contacts made during the Ming period, cultural developments were characterized by a generally conservative and inward-looking attitude.

Ming architecture is largely undistinguished with the Forbidden City , a palace complex built in Beijing in the 15th century by the Yongle emperor and subsequently enlarged and rebuilt , its main representative.

The best Ming sculpture is found not in large statues but in small ornamental carvings of jade, ivory, wood, and porcelain. There were many new developments in ceramics, along with the continuation of established traditions.

Three major types of decoration emerged: monochromatic glazes, including celadon, red, green, and yellow; underglaze copper red and cobalt blue; and overglaze, or enamel painting, sometimes combined with underglaze blue.

Much of this porcelain was produced in the huge factory at Jingdezhen in present-day Jiangsu province. The Ming regime restored the former literary examinations for public office, which pleased the literary world, dominated by Southerners.

In their own writing the Ming sought a return to classical prose and poetry styles and, as a result, produced writings that were imitative and generally of little consequence.

Writers of vernacular literature, however, made real contributions, especially in novels and drama. Chinese traditional drama originating in the Song dynasty had been banned by the Mongols but survived underground in the South, and in the Ming era it was restored.

This was chuanqi , a form of musical theatre with numerous scenes and contemporary plots. Zhu Shugui proclaimed that he acted in the name of the deceased Yongli Emperor.

Later the Qianlong Emperor bestowed the title Marquis of Extended Grace posthumously on Zhu Zhilian in , and the title passed on through twelve generations of Ming descendants until the end of the Qing dynasty in In , after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in the Xinhai Revolution , some advocated that a Han Chinese be installed as Emperor, either the descendant of Confucius, who was the Duke Yansheng , [98] [99] [] [] [] or the Ming dynasty Imperial family descendant, the Marquis of Extended Grace.

Described as "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history" by Edwin O.

Reischauer , John K. Fairbank and Albert M. Craig , [] the Ming emperors took over the provincial administration system of the Yuan dynasty, and the thirteen Ming provinces are the precursors of the modern provinces.

Departing from the main central administrative system generally known as the Three Departments and Six Ministries system, which was instituted by various dynasties since late Han BCE — CE , the Ming administration had only one Department, the Secretariat, that controlled the Six Ministries.

The Hongwu Emperor sent his heir apparent to Shaanxi in to "tour and soothe" xunfu the region; in the Yongle Emperor commissioned 26 officials to travel the empire and uphold similar investigatory and patrimonial duties.

By these xunfu assignments became institutionalized as " grand coordinators ". Hence, the Censorate was reinstalled and first staffed with investigating censors, later with censors-in-chief.

By , the grand coordinators were granted the title vice censor-in-chief or assistant censor-in-chief and were allowed direct access to the emperor.

Censors had the power to impeach officials on an irregular basis, unlike the senior officials who were to do so only in triennial evaluations of junior officials.

Although decentralization of state power within the provinces occurred in the early Ming, the trend of central government officials delegated to the provinces as virtual provincial governors began in the s.

By the late Ming dynasty, there were central government officials delegated to two or more provinces as supreme commanders and viceroys, a system which reined in the power and influence of the military by the civil establishment.

Governmental institutions in China conformed to a similar pattern for some two thousand years, but each dynasty installed special offices and bureaus, reflecting its own particular interests.

The Ming administration utilized Grand Secretaries to assist the emperor, handling paperwork under the reign of the Yongle Emperor and later appointed as top officials of agencies and Grand Preceptor, a top-ranking, non-functional civil service post, under the Hongxi Emperor r.

The imperial household was staffed almost entirely by eunuchs and ladies with their own bureaus. The eunuchs were divided into different directorates in charge of staff surveillance, ceremonial rites, food, utensils, documents, stables, seals, apparel, and so on.

Although the imperial household was staffed mostly by eunuchs and palace ladies, there was a civil service office called the Seal Office, which cooperated with eunuch agencies in maintaining imperial seals, tallies, and stamps.

The Hongwu emperor from to staffed his bureaus with officials gathered through recommendations only. After that the scholar-officials who populated the many ranks of bureaucracy were recruited through a rigorous examination system that was initially established by the Sui dynasty — However, the government did exact provincial quotas while drafting officials.

This was an effort to curb monopolization of power by landholding gentry who came from the most prosperous regions, where education was the most advanced.

The expansion of the printing industry since Song times enhanced the spread of knowledge and number of potential exam candidates throughout the provinces.

For young schoolchildren there were printed multiplication tables and primers for elementary vocabulary; for adult examination candidates there were mass-produced, inexpensive volumes of Confucian classics and successful examination answers.

As in earlier periods, the focus of the examination was classical Confucian texts, while the bulk of test material centered on the Four Books outlined by Zhu Xi in the 12th century.

The exams increased in difficulty as the student progressed from the local level, and appropriate titles were accordingly awarded successful applicants.

Officials were classified in nine hierarchic grades, each grade divided into two degrees, with ranging salaries nominally paid in piculs of rice according to their rank.

While provincial graduates who were appointed to office were immediately assigned to low-ranking posts like the county graduates, those who passed the palace examination were awarded a jinshi 'presented scholar' degree and assured a high-level position.

The maximum tenure in office was nine years, but every three years officials were graded on their performance by senior officials.

If they were graded as superior then they were promoted, if graded adequate then they retained their ranks, and if graded inadequate they were demoted one rank.

In extreme cases, officials would be dismissed or punished. Only capital officials of grade 4 and above were exempt from the scrutiny of recorded evaluation, although they were expected to confess any of their faults.

There were over 4, school instructors in county and prefectural schools who were subject to evaluations every nine years. The Chief Instructor on the prefectural level was classified as equal to a second-grade county graduate.

The Supervisorate of Imperial Instruction oversaw the education of the heir apparent to the throne; this office was headed by a Grand Supervisor of Instruction, who was ranked as first class of grade three.

Historians debate whether the examination system expanded or contracted upward social mobility. On the one hand, the exams were graded without regard to a candidate's social background, and were theoretically open to everyone.

In practice, 90 percent of the population was ineligible due to lack of education, but the upper 10 percent had equal chances for moving to the top.

To be successful young men had to have extensive, expensive training in classical Chinese, the use of Mandarin in spoken conversation, calligraphy, and had to master the intricate poetic requirements of the eight-legged essay.

Not only did the traditional gentry dominated the system, they also learned that conservatism and resistance to new ideas was the path to success.

For centuries critics had pointed out these problems, but the examination system only became more abstract and less relevant to the needs of China.

Scholar-officials who entered civil service through examinations acted as executive officials to a much larger body of non-ranked personnel called lesser functionaries.

They outnumbered officials by four to one; Charles Hucker estimates that they were perhaps as many as , throughout the empire.

These lesser functionaries performed clerical and technical tasks for government agencies. Yet they should not be confused with lowly lictors, runners, and bearers; lesser functionaries were given periodic merit evaluations like officials and after nine years of service might be accepted into a low civil service rank.

Eunuchs gained unprecedented power over state affairs during the Ming dynasty. One of the most effective means of control was the secret service stationed in what was called the Eastern Depot at the beginning of the dynasty, later the Western Depot.

This secret service was overseen by the Directorate of Ceremonial, hence this state organ's often totalitarian affiliation.

Eunuchs had ranks that were equivalent to civil service ranks, only theirs had four grades instead of nine.

Descendants of the first Ming emperor were made princes and given typically nominal military commands, annual stipends, and large estates. Although princes served no organ of state administration, the princes, consorts of the imperial princesses, and ennobled relatives did staff the Imperial Clan Court , which supervised the imperial genealogy.

Like scholar-officials, military generals were ranked in a hierarchic grading system and were given merit evaluations every five years as opposed to three years for officials.

This was due to their hereditary service instead of solely merit-based and Confucian values that dictated those who chose the profession of violence wu over the cultured pursuits of knowledge wen.

In the early half of the dynasty, men of noble lineage dominated the higher ranks of military office; this trend was reversed during the latter half of the dynasty as men from more humble origins eventually displaced them.

Literature , painting , poetry , music , and Chinese opera of various types flourished during the Ming dynasty, especially in the economically prosperous lower Yangzi valley.

Although short fiction had been popular as far back as the Tang dynasty — , [] and the works of contemporaneous authors such as Xu Guangqi, Xu Xiake, and Song Yingxing were often technical and encyclopedic, the most striking literary development was the vernacular novel.

While the gentry elite were educated enough to fully comprehend the language of Classical Chinese , those with rudimentary education — such as women in educated families, merchants, and shop clerks — became a large potential audience for literature and performing arts that employed Vernacular Chinese.

Jin Ping Mei , published in , although incorporating earlier material, marks the trend toward independent composition and concern with psychology.

Theater scripts were equally imaginative. Informal essay and travel writing was another highlight. Xu Xiake — , a travel literature author, published his Travel Diaries in , written characters , with information on everything from local geography to mineralogy.

In contrast to Xu Xiake, who focused on technical aspects in his travel literature, the Chinese poet and official Yuan Hongdao — used travel literature to express his desires for individualism as well as autonomy from and frustration with Confucian court politics.

This anti-official sentiment in Yuan's travel literature and poetry was actually following in the tradition of the Song dynasty poet and official Su Shi — They drew upon the techniques, styles, and complexity in painting achieved by their Song and Yuan predecessors, but added techniques and styles.

Well-known Ming artists could make a living simply by painting due to the high prices they demanded for their artworks and the great demand by the highly cultured community to collect precious works of art.

The artist Qiu Ying was once paid 2. Renowned artists often gathered an entourage of followers, some who were amateurs who painted while pursuing an official career and others who were full-time painters.

The period was also renowned for ceramics and porcelains. The major production center for porcelain was the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, most famous in the period for blue and white porcelain , but also producing other styles.

The Dehua porcelain factories in Fujian catered to European tastes by creating Chinese export porcelain by the late 16th century. Individual potters also became known, such as He Chaozong , who became famous in the early 17th century for his style of white porcelain sculpture.

Carved designs in lacquerware and designs glazed onto porcelain wares displayed intricate scenes similar in complexity to those in painting.

The houses of the rich were also furnished with rosewood furniture and feathery latticework. The writing materials in a scholar's private study, including elaborately carved brush holders made of stone or wood, were designed and arranged ritually to give an aesthetic appeal.

Connoisseurship in the late Ming period centered on these items of refined artistic taste, which provided work for art dealers and even underground scammers who themselves made imitations and false attributions.

The dominant religious beliefs during the Ming dynasty were the various forms of Chinese folk religion and the Three Teachings — Confucianism , Taoism , and Buddhism.

The Yuan -supported Tibetan lamas fell from favor, and the early Ming emperors particularly favored Taoism, granting its practitioners many positions in the state's ritual offices.

Islam was also well-established throughout China, with a history said to have begun with Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas during the Tang dynasty and strong official support during the Yuan.

The advent of the Ming was initially devastating to Christianity: in his first year, the Hongwu Emperor declared the eighty-year-old Franciscan missions among the Yuan heterodox and illegal.

During the later Ming a new wave of Christian missionaries arrived — particularly Jesuits — who employed new western science and technology in their arguments for conversion.

They were educated in Chinese language and culture at St. Paul's College on Macau after its founding in The most influential was Matteo Ricci , whose " Map of the Myriad Countries of the World " upended traditional geography throughout East Asia, and whose work with the convert Xu Guangqi led to the first Chinese translation of Euclid 's Elements in The discovery of a Nestorian stele at Xi'an in also permitted Christianity to be treated as an old and established faith, rather than as a new and dangerous cult.

However, there were strong disagreements about the extent to which converts could continue to perform rituals to the emperor , Confucius , or their ancestors : Ricci had been very accommodating and an attempt by his successors to backtrack from this policy led to the Nanjing Incident of , which exiled four Jesuits to Macau and forced the others out of public life for six years.

However, by the end of the Ming the Dominicans had begun the Chinese Rites controversy in Rome that would eventually lead to a full ban of Christianity under the Qing dynasty.

During his mission, Ricci was also contacted in Beijing by one of the approximately 5, Kaifeng Jews and introduced them and their long history in China to Europe.

During the Ming dynasty, the Neo-Confucian doctrines of the Song scholar Zhu Xi were embraced by the court and the Chinese literati at large, although the direct line of his school was destroyed by the Yongle Emperor 's extermination of the ten degrees of kinship of Fang Xiaoru in The Ming scholar most influential upon subsequent generations, however, was Wang Yangming — , whose teachings were attacked in his own time for their similarity to Chan Buddhism.

Other scholar-bureaucrats were wary of Wang's heterodoxy, the increasing number of his disciples while he was still in office, and his overall socially rebellious message.

To curb his influence, he was often sent out to deal with military affairs and rebellions far away from the capital. Yet his ideas penetrated mainstream Chinese thought and spurred new interest in Taoism and Buddhism.

The liberal views of Wang Yangming were opposed by the Censorate and by the Donglin Academy , re-established in These conservatives wanted a revival of orthodox Confucian ethics.

Conservatives such as Gu Xiancheng — argued against Wang's idea of innate moral knowledge, stating that this was simply a legitimization for unscrupulous behavior such as greedy pursuits and personal gain.

These two strands of Confucian thought, hardened by Chinese scholars' notions of obligation towards their mentors, developed into pervasive factionalism among the ministers of state, who used any opportunity to impeach members of the other faction from court.

Wang Gen was able to give philosophical lectures to many commoners from different regions because — following the trend already apparent in the Song dynasty — communities in Ming society were becoming less isolated as the distance between market towns was shrinking.

Schools, descent groups, religious associations, and other local voluntary organizations were increasing in number and allowing more contact between educated men and local villagers.

A variety of occupations could be chosen or inherited from a father's line of work. This would include — but was not limited to — coffin makers, ironworkers and blacksmiths, tailors, cooks and noodle-makers, retail merchants, tavern, teahouse, or winehouse managers, shoemakers, seal cutters, pawnshop owners, brothel heads, and merchant bankers engaging in a proto-banking system involving notes of exchange.

A small township also provided a place for simple schooling, news and gossip, matchmaking, religious festivals, traveling theater groups, tax collection, and bases of famine relief distribution.

Farming villagers in the north spent their days harvesting crops like wheat and millet, while farmers south of the Huai River engaged in intensive rice cultivation and had lakes and ponds where ducks and fish could be raised.

The cultivation of mulberry trees for silkworms and tea bushes could be found mostly south of the Yangzi River ; even further south sugarcane and citrus were grown as basic crops.

Besides cutting down trees to sell wood, the poor also made a living by turning wood into charcoal, and by burning oyster shells to make lime and fired pots, and weaving mats and baskets.

Although the south had the characteristic of the wealthy landlord and tenant farmers, there were on average many more owner-cultivators north of the Huai River due to harsher climate, living not far above subsistence level.

Early Ming dynasty saw the strictest sumptuary laws in Chinese history. It was illegal for commoners to wear fine silk or dress in bright red, dark green or yellow colors; nor could they wear boots or guan hats.

Women could not use ornaments made from gold, jade, pearl or emerald. Merchants and their families were further banned from using silk.

However, these laws were no longer enforced from the middle Ming period onwards. Compared to the flourishing of science and technology in the Song dynasty , the Ming dynasty perhaps saw fewer advancements in science and technology compared to the pace of discovery in the Western world.

In fact, key advances in Chinese science in the late Ming were spurred by contact with Europe. When the Ming founder Hongwu came upon the mechanical devices housed in the Yuan dynasty's palace at Khanbaliq — such as fountains with balls dancing on their jets, self-operating tiger automata , dragon-headed devices that spouted mists of perfume, and mechanical clocks in the tradition of Yi Xing — and Su Song — — he associated all of them with the decadence of Mongol rule and had them destroyed.

The Chinese were intrigued with European technology, but so were visiting Europeans of Chinese technology. In , Abraham Ortelius — featured in his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum the peculiar Chinese innovation of mounting masts and sails onto carriages , just like Chinese ships.

This includes mechanical and hydraulic powered devices for agriculture and irrigation, [] nautical technology such as vessel types and snorkeling gear for pearl divers, [] [] [] the annual processes of sericulture and weaving with the loom , [] metallurgic processes such as the crucible technique and quenching , [] manufacturing processes such as for roasting iron pyrite in converting sulphide to oxide in sulfur used in gunpowder compositions — illustrating how ore was piled up with coal briquettes in an earthen furnace with a still-head that sent over sulfur as vapor that would solidify and crystallize [] — and the use of gunpowder weapons such as a naval mine ignited by use of a rip-cord and steel flint wheel.

Focusing on agriculture in his Nongzheng Quanshu , the agronomist Xu Guangqi — took an interest in irrigation, fertilizers, famine relief, economic and textile crops, and empirical observation of the elements that gave insight into early understandings of chemistry.

There were many advances and new designs in gunpowder weapons during the beginning of the dynasty, but by the mid to late Ming the Chinese began to frequently employ European-style artillery and firearms.

This includes hollow, gunpowder-filled exploding cannonballs , [] land mines that used a complex trigger mechanism of falling weights, pins, and a steel wheellock to ignite the train of fuses, [] naval mines, [] fin-mounted winged rockets for aerodynamic control, [] multistage rockets propelled by booster rockets before igniting a swarm of smaller rockets issuing forth from the end of the missile shaped like a dragon's head , [] and hand cannons that had up to ten barrels.

Li Shizhen — — one of the most renowned pharmacologists and physicians in Chinese history — belonged to the late Ming period. His Bencao Gangmu is a medical text with 1, entries, each entry with its own name called a gang.

The mu in the title refers to the synonyms of each name. Throughout the Ming dynasty, around fifty texts were published on the treatment of smallpox.

Sinologist historians debate the population figures for each era in the Ming dynasty. The historian Timothy Brook notes that the Ming government census figures are dubious since fiscal obligations prompted many families to underreport the number of people in their households and many county officials to underreport the number of households in their jurisdiction.

The practice is well documented in China, going back over two thousand years, and it was described as "rampant" and "practiced by almost every family" by contemporary authors.

The government tried to mitigate this by creating their own conservative estimate of 60,, people in Historians are now turning to local gazetteers of Ming China for clues that would show consistent growth in population.

Even with the Jiajing reforms to document migrant workers and merchants, by the late Ming era the government census still did not accurately reflect the enormous growth in population.

Gazetteers across the empire noted this and made their own estimations of the overall population in the Ming, some guessing that it had doubled, tripled, or even grown fivefold since From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Redirected from Ming Dynasty. For other uses, see Ming disambiguation and Ming Dynasty disambiguation. Not to be confused with Mingus Dynasty.

Former empire in Eastern Asia, — Ming China in during the reign of the Yongle Emperor. But in , when the shogunate brusquely denied responsibility for any piratical activities and refused to resume the former tributary relationship, the Yongle emperor was too preoccupied with other matters to do more than grumble.

The Yongle emperor's expansionist inclinations led China into an ultimately disastrous military adventure against China's southern neighbour, Dai Viet Vietnam, called Annam by the Chinese.

In the young Tran dynasty, heir to the Dai Viet throne, had been deposed and a new dynasty proclaimed.

From the beginning of Yongle's reign Tran loyalist refugees urged him to intervene and restore legitimate rule, and, when his own envoys to Annam were murdered, in , the emperor authorized a punitive campaign.

Chinese forces rapidly occupied and pacified Annam. Because no Tran heir seemed available, the Yongle emperor in transformed Dai Viet from a tributary state into the new Chinese province of Annam.

Local resistance broke out almost immediately and continued irrepressibly. Especially after , guerrilla warfare against the Ming authorities made the Chinese position in Annam increasingly precarious.

By that time the emperor had lost most of his early interest in the southern regions, and the situation was allowed to deteriorate until his grandson, the Xuande emperor, realistically, albeit with some humiliation, abandoned direct Ming rule of Annam in During the early years of the Yongle emperor's reign, the northern frontier, traditionally the zone of greatest danger to any Chinese regime, was relatively quiescent.

At the outset of his Beijing-based insurrection in , the Yongle emperor had sought and won the support of the Mongol tribes directly to his rear, in northeastern China.

In later payment for this support, he in effect gave these Urianghad Mongols virtual autonomy by withdrawing China's command posts south of the Great Wall, and he regularly sent the Urianghad chiefs substantial gifts.

Other tribes beyond the northern frontier—the Eastern Mongols, or Tatars, and the Western Mongols, or Oyrats—were too disorganized to do more than struggle among themselves.

In the far west, the Turko-Mongol empire builder Timur Tamerlane had already invaded and pillaged both India and Syria when the Yongle emperor came to the Chinese throne, and in Timur prepared to launch an expedition against China.

Vaguely aware of this, the Yongle emperor alerted his commanders in the west to prepare for trouble; but Timur died in , and the expedition was canceled.

Thereafter, the emperor maintained amicable relations with Timur's heirs at Samarkand and Herat, keeping the Central Asian trade routes open.

After his early years on the throne, the Yongle emperor's attention was diverted from the south back to the northern frontier by the emergence of an effective new Tatar leader named Aruqtai.

In the Yongle emperor resumed the aggressive extramural patrolling in the north that had preoccupied him as a prince in the s and '90s.

Between and the emperor five times personally led grand armies northward into the Gobi, primarily against Aruqtai but occasionally against Oyrats or restless Urianghad groups.

The campaigns culminated in only a few battles, in which the Chinese forces won indecisive victories, but they had the effect of forestalling the development of a new large-scale Mongol confederation that might have seriously threatened China.

Astute diplomacy was also relied on during these years to keep the Mongols fragmented and to establish at least nominal Chinese authority over the Juchen Chinese: Nüzchen, or Ruzhen peoples in the far northeast, as distant as the Amur River Chinese: Heilong Jiang.

The most notable domestic event of the Yongle emperor's reign was the transfer of the national capital and the central government from Nanjing to Beijing.

This reflected and symbolized the emperor's and the country's shift of attention from the southern oceans to the northern land frontiers.

Beijing was perhaps not the ideal site for the national capital: it historically had been associated primarily with "barbarian" dynasties such as the Yuan, it was far removed from China's economic and cultural heartland, and it was dangerously close and exposed to the northern frontier.

But it was the Yongle emperor's personal power base, and it was a site from which the northern defenses could be kept under effective surveillance.

In the emperor authorized transfer of the capital there, and from on he spent most of his time in the north. In large-scale work began on the reconstruction of Beijing, and thereafter the Yongle emperor never returned to Nanjing.

The new Beijing palace was completed in , and on New Year's Day of Beijing formally became the national capital. Before this transfer of the capital could be accomplished and before the northern defenses could be made satisfactorily secure, the Yongle emperor had to provide for the reliable transport of grain supplies from the affluent Yangtze valley to the north.

Since the old Grand Canal linking the Yangtze and Huang He Yellow River valleys had been neglected for centuries and was largely unusable, coastal transport service around the Shandong peninsula was reorganized, and it proved spectacularly successful in the early years of the Yongle emperor's reign under the naval commander Chen Xuan.

Rehabilitation and extension of old waterways in the north proceeded simultaneously, so that in sea transport vessels could enter the Huang He mouth south of Shandong and thus avoid the most perilous part of the coastal route; then Chen Xuan by successfully rehabilitated the southern segments of the Grand Canal, and sea transport was abandoned.

With Chen Xuan serving as supreme commander of the Grand Canal system until his death in , the new army-operated waterways complex, extending from Hangzhou in the south to outside Beijing, was able to deliver grain supplies in quantities adequate for the northern needs.

In , when Beijing became the national capital, deliveries began to exceed 3,, piculs , tons annually. The Yongle emperor's overseas expeditions, the ill-fated occupation of Annam, the northern campaigns, the rebuilding of Beijing, and the rehabilitation of the Grand Canal all required enormous expenditures of supplies and human effort.

That China was able to undertake such projects during his reign gives evidence of the Yongle emperor's strong leadership, but they seem to have left the country exhausted and ready for an era of recovery under his successors.

The emperor fell ill while returning from his campaign of into Mongolia and died at the age of 64 in August, when the army was still en route to Beijing.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Zhu Gaozhi, who had served ably as regent during his father's frequent long absences from the capital; he is known to history by the posthumous designation Renzong "Benevolent Forebear".

The Yongle emperor fathered three other sons and five daughters. His principal consort was the empress Xu, daughter of the great early Ming marshal Xu Da; she died early in his reign, in The Yongle emperor was originally given the posthumous temple designation Taizong "Grand Forebear" , a designation traditionally given to the second emperor of a dynasty.

In , long after that designation had come to be considered an unjustifiable insult to the memory of the Jianwen emperor, it was changed to the equally flattering Chengzu "Completing Ancestor" , in acknowledgement that it was indeed Zhu Di who consolidated the new dynasty.

Main source: Yongle. The Xuande mark is said to have been written by the famous calligrapher Shendu , since the official mark of Xuande is following his hand writing.

For a century after the Yongle emperor, the empire enjoyed stability, tranquillity, and prosperity. But state administration began to suffer when weak emperors were exploited by favored eunuchs: Wang Zhen in the s, Wang Zhi in the s and '80s, and Liu Jin from to The only serious disruption of the peace occurred in when the eunuch Wang Zhen led the Zhengtong emperor first reign —49 into a disastrous military campaign against the Oirat western Mongols.

The Oirat leader Esen Taiji ambushed the imperial army, captured the emperor, and besieged Beijing.

The Ming defense minister, Yu Qian , forced Esen to withdraw unsatisfied and for eight years dominated the government with emergency powers.

When the interim Jingtai emperor reigned —57 fell ill in , the Zhengtong emperor, having been released by the Mongols in , resumed the throne as the Tianshun emperor — Yu Qian was then executed as a traitor.

It is thought that during the Chenghua period there were only one calligrapher writing all marks on all official porcelains. I am not sure we can assume that, regardless of what the mark looks like.

In the early 's I discussed this with Liu Xinyuan head of the excavations in Jingdezhen at this time, while spending some time studying their finds.

He told the reason why the Chenghua mark looks like it does - in his opinion - was because the original mark was written by the emperor while he was quite young, and his handwriting was not so good.

Whatever the case is, the Chenghua mark is inelegant, thick, often unbalanced and immature. Some common characteristics of the Chenghua porcelain mark by whatever hand but true to the period: 1 First character "Great" - the beginning of the second stroke seldom extends much beyond the first stroke, looking stubby, but when it occasionally does the beginning is fat; third and final stroke ends thickly.

For one period of 20 years, during the regime of an unpopular grand secretary named Yan Song , the Jiajing emperor withdrew almost entirely from governmental cares.

China's long peace ended during the Jiajiang emperor's reign. The Oirat , under the vigorous new leadership of Altan Khan , were a constant nuisance on the northern frontier from on; in Altan Khan raided the suburbs of Beijing itself.

During the same era, Japan-based sea raiders repeatedly plundered China's southeastern coast. Such sea raiders, a problem in Yuan times and from the earliest Ming years, had been suppressed during the reign of the Yongle emperor, when Japan's Ashikaga shogunate offered nominal submission to China in exchange for generous trading privileges.

However, changes in the official trade system eventually provoked new discontent along the coast, and during the s corsair fleets looted the Shanghai-Ningbo region almost annually, sometimes sending raiding parties far inland to terrorize cities and villages throughout the whole Yangtze delta.

Although coastal raiding was not totally suppressed, it was brought under control in the s. Also in the s Altan Khan was repeatedly defeated, so that he made peace in Notoriously cruel, Jiajing caused hundreds of officials who had the temerity to disagree with him to be tortured, demoted, or killed.

He spent much of his time and money, especially in his later years, patronizing Daoist alchemists in the hopes of finding an elixir to prolong his life.

Mongol tribesmen under the leadership of Altan Khan died raided the northwest frontier and several times even besieged the Chinese capital at Beijing.

Japanese pirates harassed trade along the coast, and rebellions in the southern provinces were frequent.

An auspicious inscription on folk wares, mostly seen on blue-and-white porcelain made in Jingdezhen in the Jiajing and Wanli reigns of the Ming dynasty and also seen on wares with gilt designs produced in the Jiajing reign.

Chakra or, the flaming wheel-design on the inside. Estimated date C. Click here to see large picture. Decoration on the outside of a Qilin or, a mythical lion-deer.

Born , China - died , China. In this short reign the famous minister Zhang Juzheng first came to power and the country entered a period of stability and prosperity.

Government expenditures were limited and an attempt was made to wipe out corruption. The court was dominated by the outstanding grand secretary of Ming history, Zhang Juzheng , and capable generals such as Qi Jiguang restored and maintained effective military defenses.

Born Sept. In , when Japanese forces under Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea, Ming China was still strong and responsive enough to campaign effectively in support of its tributary neighbor.

But the Korean war dragged on indecisively until , when Hideyoshi died and the Japanese withdrew. It made heavy demands on Ming resources and apparently precipitated a military decline in China.

The Wanli emperor was a recluse whose apparent inattention to government affairs contributed to the abuses of power by provincial officials and other political figures that came to dominate that era of Chinese history.

The reign of the Wanli emperor was a turning point of Ming history in other regards as well. Partisan wrangling among civil officials had flared up in the s in reaction to Yu Qian's dominance and again in the s during a prolonged "rites controversy" provoked by the Jiajing emperor on his accession; after Zhang Juzheng's death in , it became the normal condition of court life.

Through the remainder of the Wanli emperor's long reign, a series of increasingly vicious partisan controversies absorbed the energies of officialdom, while the harassed emperor abandoned more and more of his responsibilities to eunuchs.

The Taichang Emperor was the fourteenth emperor of the Ming Dynasty. He was born Zhu Changluo , the eldest son of the Wanli Emperor and succeeded his father as emperor in However his reign came to an abrupt end less than one month after his coronation when he was found dead one morning in the palace following a bout of diarrhea.

The Wanli Emperor died on 18 August and Zhu Chanluo officially ascended the throne on 28 August , taking the era name "Taichang" meaning "Magnificent Prosperity".

The first few days of his reign started promisingly enough as recorded in official Ming court history. Two million taels of silver was entailed as a gift to the troops guarding the border, important bureaucratic posts left vacant during Wanli's long periods of administrative inactivity were finally starting to be filled, and many of the deeply unpopular extraordinary taxes and duties imposed by the late emperor were also revoked at this time.

However ten days after his coronation, Taichang was taken ill. So grave was the new emperor's physical condition his birthday celebration originally planned for the next day was cancelled.

According to some non-official primary sources, Taichang's illness was brought about by excessive sexual indulgence after he was presented with eight beautiful serving girls by his nemesis Lady Zheng as a coronation gift.

The emperor's already serious condition was further compounded by severe diarrhea after taking a dose of laxative, recommended by an attending eunuch Cui Wensheng on 10 September.

Finally on 25 September, to counter the effects of the laxative, he asked for and took a red pill presented by a minor court official named Li Kezhuo , who dabbled in apothecary.

It was recorded in the official Ming court history that Taichang felt much better after taking the pill, regained his appetite and repeatedly praised Li Kezhuo as a "loyal subject".

That same afternoon the emperor took a second pill and was found dead the next morning. The death of a second emperor who was seemingly in good health within the span of a month sent shock waves through the empire and started rumours flying.

The much talked about mystery surrounding the emperor's death became known as the infamous "Case of the Red Pills", one of three notorious 'mysteries' of the late Ming Dynasty.

The fate of Li Kezhuo , whose pills were at the center of this controversy, became a hotly contested subject between competing power factions of officials and eunuchs vying for influence at the Ming court.

In local memory, the devastation wrought by Zhang Xianzhong and the migration form the opening chapter Ming Dynasty Symbol historical self-understanding. Dai Qiang, Mr. Built in xx to commemorate Wu Lizhen, a local person said to have been the first to domesticate tea, the temple was absorbed Wie Macht Man Am Schnellsten Geld Buddhism in xx, becoming known as XX si. Despite the increasing density of settlement and the Online Poker Turnierergebnisse of the landscape during the Ming, Yazhou remained an often unstable frontier. The Lushan county gazetteer records the rebuilding or new construction of seven Buddhist temples during the Ming, a pattern repeated across the Yazhou region. As the Han dynasty fell and China Tierheim Siebengebirge Hunde a four-century period of disunity, the Liao people migrating from Huge Casino Cheats settled in the area and gradually mixed with the ethnic Han population. Ming dynasty, Chenghua mark and of the period. Part of the settlement process is that Nature is explained, and transformed into place, through reference to established historical figures and events. Got it! Ming Dynasty Symbol