The Ming Dynasty

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The Ming Dynasty

The Ming Dynasty social structure had evolved over hundreds of years and was influenced by Confucian thought. Before the Ming Dynasty, China was divided into four classes: merchants, farmers, artisans, and gentry. Under the Ming Dynasty, city life was further established, which led to economic and urban development. There were four occupations in Ming society and they were: Shi, Nong, Gong, and Shang. The Shi: In Ancient China, the shi class was considered to be an elite class of people, who had the privilege to ride in command battles. The shi class also became less aristocratic and more bureaucratic due to the highly competitive exams during the Song Dynasty. Moreover, the widespread printing through woodblock enhanced the spread of knowledge among the literate in society, enabled more people to vie for a prestigious degree. The people of shi class was highly respected in the society because they represented wisdom and education.The Nong: The Nong were the peasant farmers. They played a highly significant role to the empire, because they were considered the producers of food which sustained the empire. The Nong was also seen as a vital and productive social class in the Ming Dynasty. The Gong: The Gong were artisans and craftsmen. They were much like famers, however, they had the skills to make goods of daily use for the society. Artisans and craftsmen were either government-employed or worked privately. Moreover, since they had skills, which was passed on from generation to generation, they were more respected than merchants. The Shang: They were the merchants and traders and they only traded and transported the food and goods made by the Nong and the Gong class. Therefore, a lot of the merchants did buy lands to command more respect in the society. However, most of the population believed that the merchants were only motivated by greed and they did not contribute the greater good of the society.

The Ming Dynasty

Timeline Description: The Ming Dynasty ruled China from 1368 to 1644. It was a period of native Chinese leadership that came in between Mongol and Manchu rule. It was founded by Zhu Yuanzhang, who proclaimed himself emperor in Yingtian.In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang officially proclaimed himself emperor in Yingtian and founded the Ming Dynasty. In the same year, the Ming army captured Dadu (currently Beijing), the capital city of Yuan, and rid China of most of the remaining Mongols, ultimately ending Yuan.The main reason the Ming Dynasty flourishd was because it made improvements in agriculture, international trade and manufacturing.

Zhu Yuanzhang(1328–1398)

Zhu Yuanzhang grew up as a poor peasant. He was born in 1328. Perhaps typical of a poor peasant at the end of the Yuan era, he saw a lot of death, starvation, and fighting.It is said that he was the youngest of seven or eight brothers. Due to poverty, several of his older brothers were given away. In 1344, when he was 16, the Yellow River flooded and flooded his home. Then his family died of disease.When he was 24, Zhu Yuanzhang joined a rebel group. Then they joined a large Red Turban army that had Zoroastrian and Buddhist beliefs, and he became their leader before he was 30.Zoroastrianism was a Western religion that had spread through Central Asia before Islam spread. Zoroastrians believe in a supreme deity.What he believed personally at that time or when he was older isn't clear. He was thought to be a defender of Confucianism.

The Ming Dynasty Social Structure

Known as the Empire of the Great Ming, the Ming Dynasty is considered as one of the greatest eras in ancient history. Along with its popularity, this particular era was responsible for the restoration of the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canal. It was also the time when the Forbidden City was established. Aside from its awe-inspiring achievements, people may wonder what religions were prevalent during the Ming Dynasty.

Interesting Inventions:The Bristle Toothbrush:This invention occurred around 1498, during the reign of the Hongzhi Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. This was mass-produced in 1780, several years after the fall of the Ming Dynasty. Before the toothbrush was invented, people used sticks and flared edges called chew sticks. After this, pig bristles were used. The toothbrush innovation has become an important part of modern society. Today, almost everyone in the world uses a toothbrush.Ship Rudders:Another great invention during the Ming Dynasty was ship rudders. This innovation in marine life made the steering of large ships easier and also served as a guide to sailors as they traversed the deep waters.The ship rudders and other Ming Dynasty inventions have swept through the ages all over the world. Today, these contributions are widely used, leaving a mark in the history of China and the entire world.

-Ming Vases-While northern traditions of Cizhou and Jun continued to decline, pottery production in the south expanded. It was chiefly centred on Jingdezhen, an ideal site because of the abundance of minerals used for porcelain manufacture—kaolin (china clay) and petuntse (china stone)—ample wood fuel, and good connections by water. Most of the celadon, however, was still produced in Zhejiang, notably at Longchuan and Chuzhou, whose Ming products are more heavily potted than those of the Song and Yuan and are decorated with incised and molded designs under a sea-green glaze. Celadon dishes, some of large size, were an important item in China’s trade with the Middle East, whose rulers, it was said, believed that the glaze would crack or change colour if poison touched it.

Religion:- Taoism And Buddhism -The Ming Dynastyhad several inclinanations, but the dominant beliefs during the time were Taoism (Daoism) and Buddhism. Some people believed in having a harmonious relationship with nature. During this era, scriptures and various practices were done to establish harmony with nature. On the other hand, others believed in Bhudda (Buddhism). Some Chinese spent thier whole life based on Bhuddha's teachings. In fact Buddhism has played a major role in shaping the way Chinese people think today


The Legend of The Moon Cakes:Under the oppression of Mongol rule, a plan was devised to overthrow the Mongols. Messages were inserted into moon cakes so that families were informed of the rebellion. The message supposedly read “kill the Mongols on the 15th of 8th lunar month”.According to the legend, people responded to the call and managed to drive the Mongols out of China and led to the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368. The Ming Dynasty CurrencyWhen the Ming Dynasty came to power, they made paper money their primary form of currency to completely replace coins. We can assume they did this because metal eventually became short in supply as a result of ongoing forgery of coins and the dead had been buried with a few too many coins. When too much paper currency was printed, it lost its value. The use of coins for currency was soon reintroduced to replace paper.This is an image of an ancient Chinese coin from the Ming dynasty. It is a primary source as it is the same coin that was used during that time. The website did not state where this particular coin was discovered but coins from ancient China have been found all over Asia and Africa. This could be because the Ming dynasty was well known for its trade with other countries. Coins were minted in the capital and at other various provinces. This particular coin is supposedly made of silver. The amount of silver used during the Ming dynasty was extraordinary. At one point most of the silver from the mines of Peru went straight to Ming China. Temple of HeavenThis is an image of the Temple of Heaven in Southern Beijing. The image is a primary source as it is a real photograph of the temple. The Temple of Heaven was a structure built in the ancient Ming Dynasty. It was constructed with the emperor’s official duties in mind to hold the Heaven Sacrifice Ceremony to pray for graces from Heaven and full harvests on earth. It was designed to represent the relationship between heaven and earth. The temple was also a place where sacrifices were made to heaven, although, the sacrifices were probably human. In 1911 the government, reasonably, outlawed this practice.The temple has a rounded design on the upper portion for heaven and a square design on the bottom to represent earth. It is over 29 million square feet in size. The three main areas of the temple are; The Hall of Prayer For Good Harvests, The Imperial Vault of Heaven and The Circular Mound Alter. Unfortunately, in 1889 The Hall of Prayer For Good Harvests burnt down by a lightning strike because it was made completely out of wood, without so much as a nail. Several years later, it was rebuilt.In my opinion it survived a long time because it was well crafted, very respected and well preserved.


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