Ming Dynasty (1368-1643 AD) – Part 2, 3/3

November 24, 2010

The reputation of the Chinese products that Admiral Zheng He took with him on his voyages brought him considerable honor and made him welcome everywhere he visited.

On his sixth voyage, he reached the African coast and twelve hundred envoys from sixteen African and Asian countries returned to China with Zheng He’s fleet.

In Beijing, the Ming Emperor presented these envoys with 40 thousand roles of silk and brocade.

Even before the Ming Dynasty, China had been sending diplomatic missions overland to the West for centuries and trade had extended as far as east Africa.

However, never before had a government-sponsored mission the size of Zheng He’s fleet been organized.  His voyages were a vivid demonstration of the economic and cultural prosperity of the Ming Dynasty.

 

In 1420, the year the Forbidden City was completed, the Yongle Emperor’s Bell was successfully cast. 

The Forbidden City is a testament to Chinese architecture and engineering while in Europe it was still the Middle Ages.

The Great Wall, which the Ming Dynasty had continued to build and strengthen, stretched from China’s eastern coast to the far northwest.

In 1637, the largest encyclopedia of ancient China was published — a comprehensive book covering science and handicraft technologies.

Another encyclopedia was published on agriculture.

A third described China’s geology in detail.

A fourth was the most comprehensive medical book in Chinese history, the Compendium of Materia Medica.

The greatest of China’s ancient literature was also written and published during the Ming Dynasty.

Return to Ming Dynasty (1368-1643 AD) – Part 2, 2/3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

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Ming Dynasty (1368-1643 AD) – Part 2, 2/3

November 23, 2010

The Ming Dynasty was the golden age of porcelain making. Each area and/or city in China that produced porcelain had its own specialty.

Most of the porcelain products that Admiral Zheng He took on his voyages were from China’s capital of porcelain in Jingdezhen.

By the time of the Ming Dynasty, there were about 20 kilns in Jingdezhen producing porcelain for the exclusive use of the Imperial family.

However, porcelain was also produced for the common people and for trade.

Again, the process of porcelain production was similar to a modern day assembly line. Sorry, Ford.

Chinese porcelain became famous throughout the world.  Merchants from all of Europe and the Middle East were doing business with China.

For example, the amount of china one nation, the Netherlands, imported came to about 16 million pieces.

While Zheng He was on his voyages, the Forbidden City, the largest palace in the world, was being built in Beijing. Classical Chinese construction involved eight separate tasks, which have changed little in thousands of years.

Jin Hongkui, Deputy Curator of the Palace Museum says, “The golden yellow tiles of the Forbidden City contain many details that might go unnoticed by a less observant eye.

“For instance, each tile on the roof of the Hall of Supreme Harmony has a miniature dragon sculpted on the tile’s head…

“These small details are a sharp contrast to the grand scale of the palace and this highlights the harmony of artistic and architectural effort that went into the Forbidden City.”

At the same time, the Temple of Heaven was being built in another part of Beijing.

Return to Ming Dynasty (1368-1643 AD) – Part 2, 1/3

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.