The Ming Dynasty art China is considered by many as the Chinese’s achievement in the world of art. The Ming Dynasty art showcases a wide variety of art that was produced and created during the Ming Dynasty period (1368-1644). It includes seventy paintings and some calligraphy that record the comparable developments of both the courtly and the scholar-amateur societies. Aside from that the Ming Dynasty also showcased the prosperity it gained during its time with textile, lacquers, ceramics, jades, and cloisonné and bamboo carvings. Ming when translated to means “Brilliant” which is very apt since the Ming Dynasty was a period of brilliance especially in the field of art.
The Ming Dynasty
The Ming dynasty was founded in the year 1368 by Zhu Yuanzhang who officially proclaimed himself emperor. Ming dynasty served the people well and the Emperor focused on how he could reduce the burden of the peasants and increase the productivity of the economy. According to many historians, the early period of the Ming dynasty was dedicated to cultural restoration and expansion of Chinese territory.
It was only during the reign of the Emperor Chengzhu that prosperity in the economy and in the field of arts was achieved. As a matter of fact, Emperor Chenzhu’s reign was considered the most prosperous period of the Ming dynasty. It was during his reign that the Yongle Dadian, regarded as first and most extensive encyclopaedia, was created. Emperor Chengzhu also initiated the construction of the Beijing Palace and moved China’s capital from Yingtian to Beijing.
One of the most popular and well-preserved tourist spots today is the Forbidden City which Emperor Chengzhu had ordered be built.
You can see today that the Forbidden City in Beijing is decorated with the kind of art that had flourished during that period—from its red painted buildings to the yellow glazed tiles that were reminiscent of official Chinese buildings during the Ming dynasty. The temple halls of the Forbidden City are decorated with statues from the Taoists and Buddhist myths and legends. Most of these statues were made during the Ming dynasty.
Most of the imperial tombs during the Ming Dynasty have been well-preserved. And, although private gardens were already popular during the Song dynasty, most of the most beautiful gardens in China today are from the Ming dynasty period.
When it comes to porcelain and chinaware, the Ming dynasty has kept up with the tradition begun by the Yuan dynasty—white blue porcelain on its plates, cup, bowls and vases. However, they also use other colours most especially red which symbolizes royalty.
For many centuries Ming porcelain vases have been recognized and lauded as the essence of timeless beauty. Which is why the porcelain industry during this period flourished well as they were able to export to other countries. A proof of this is the fact that chinaware was found excavated from Western sunken ships.
Under the Ming dynasty, carved lacquer ware became surprisingly popular again in Ming dynasty art China. After having been a neglected form of art, lacquer ware came to life again and flourished well during this era.
Art that Flourished During the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty art Chinaflourished during the mid and later periods of the Ming dynasty. This was partly because of the amazing boom in commerce and trade that occurred during those periods. As people gradually gathered together in commercial centres frequently, many novels and classical operas that portrayed the lives of the people emerged as a great source of entertainment.
The Ming dynasty also witnessed the growth of Ming dynasty art China. Art, literature, science and Philosophy went to a whole new level as people began developing the ideas of the previous generations. People also went out of their way to develop Chinese drama, novel, calligraphy and painting as well.
In the field of literature, the ShuihuZhuan (Outlaws of the Marshes), SanguoYanyi (Romance of the three Kingdoms), and XiyouJi (Journey to the west) represented the new novel form under this period.
When it comes to visual art, paintings under the Ming dynasty was found to carry the same spirit as the paintings from the Yuan Dynasty which is mostly xieyi or freestyle painting by brush and ink. Painting schools were set up during that period by representative artists including Wen Zhenming and Shen Zhou of the “Wu School”.
One of the greatest achievements of Ming dynasty art China was the Yongle Dadian (Yongle Encyclopaedia). It is considered around the world as the world’s first ever extensive reference work ever produced.
To sum it all up, the Ming dynasty art China flourished greatly during the Ming dynasty. With a total of 16 emperors and lasting over 270 years, the Ming dynasty was able to produce the best of Chinese artistry and economic strength and stability. Aside from that, the leaders of the Ming dynasty helped revive the Chinese’s sense of cultural identity. Respect for traditional arts and craftsmanship also flourished during this period where artists were highly awarded and lauded for their exceptional works.
The Ming dynasty united the Chinese together through art. And today, this kind of pride in their history is manifested in how the Chinese promote their culture not only through art but also in their way of life.
AS the last of China’s native-ruled dynasty, the Ming dynasty is celebrated and honoured as the height of Chinese cultural achievement. Many workshops supervised by the imperial court followed strict rules on the creation of goods for the use of the royalty. Because of these set of guidelines created by the Bureau of Design, many products from the Ming dynasty such as Ming porcelain, lacquer, textile and metalwork became recognized the world over not only for the beauty they possess but also for the quality of the work and the materials used.
This very same principle in craftsmanship and the art has made China successfully flourish under the Ming Dynasty. It was the best time for Chinese art and Culture to flourish.