The following discusses the isolation of the Ming Dynasty, Zheng He, the contrast with the Qing Dynasty, art, civil service exam and economy.
Why did the Ming dynasty isolate themselves
There are two theories about the reasons for the isolation of the Ming Dynasty. The first one is to prevent the invasion of Japanese pirates, and the second is because they are very confident.
The emperors of all generations of China felt that China was self-sufficient because of its vast land and resources. And those foreigners living around China can’t live without Chinese handouts.
For example, they believe that if foreigners in the southwest cannot import salt from China, they will not have salt to eat.
In addition, they feel that once China closes its trading market with the foreigners in the north, the cattle and sheep from the foreigners in the north and the ginseng from the foreigners in the northeast will not be sold.
In addition, they have not been able to trade cloth, grain, tea, or even ironware and tools from China, and life will be very difficult.
Under this kind of thinking, all the emperors of all generations of China felt that trading with foreign countries was a gift to foreign countries.
But with this kind of thinking, they missed the opportunity of the first industrial revolution, and in just a few hundred years, they changed from the world’s strongest country to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society invaded by foreign countries.
Ming Dynasty and Zheng He
Zheng He was the eunuch, navigator, and diplomat of the Ming Dynasty. He is a confidant of Yongle Emperor.
He led the fleet on seven voyages, the first in 1405, and the last in 1433.
During these seven voyages, he visited more than 30 countries, which was the largest sea adventure in the world at that time.
Ming dynasty vs Qing dynasty
The philosophy, thought and culture of the Ming Dynasty belonged to a relatively good era in chinese history, while the Qing Dynasty experienced a comprehensive retreat in philosophy, thought and culture, except for some influential literary works.
The system construction of the Ming Dynasty has gone through several stages including the initial stage, the stable stage, the development stage and the deteriorating stage, and finally a total collapse.
However, there is a saying that the society was in a stage of major institutional changes in the late Ming Dynasty. If Ming Dynasty can grasp it, the history that follows may be rewritten.
The Qing Dynasty summed up the lessons from the demise of the Ming Dynasty and decided to adopt the simplest policy of fooling the people and implement a comprehensive high-handed rule to stabilize the country.
Objectively speaking, the economy of the Qing Dynasty was more developed than that of the Ming Dynasty. The Qing Dynasty developed agriculture and commerce on the basis of the Ming Dynasty. In this regard, the Qing Dynasty was better than the Ming Dynasty. However, the private industry that appeared in the Ming Dynasty was completely abolished in the Qing Dynasty.
The scientific and technological level of the Ming Dynasty was one of the fastest advancing periods in Chinese history.
Although the Qing Dynasty also made some achievements in science and technology, it did not change the fact that science and technology gradually lagged behind since the early Qing Dynasty.
And most of the scientific and technological knowledge has not played a role in China’s economic and social development.
The traffic undertakings developed in the late Qing Dynasty. Zhan Tianyou is China’s first outstanding railway engineer. The arduousness of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway project he presided over was rare in the history of world railways at that time.
Foreign exchanges and international influence
In order to strengthen ties with overseas countries, Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty sent fleets led by Zheng He on voyages that visited more than 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa, reaching as far as the east coast of Africa.
After the Opium War, the Qing Dynasty was invaded by foreign powers, and its sovereignty and territory were severely lost. Eventually it was completely reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.
What’s worse in the Qing Dynasty than in the past
A professor in China who specializes in the history of the Qing Dynasty said that what makes the Qing Dynasty worse than the previous dynasties is that ordinary people in the past want to be minions, and the emperor will not let his minion beat you.
But in the Qing Dynasty, if you want to be a minion, you still have to look at the emperor’s mood. The consequence of not knowing the emperor’s mood is to be beaten by the emperor’s minion or sent to the frontier.
Ming Dynasty art
Ming Dynasty painting
The number of painters in the Ming Dynasty surpassed that of the Song and Yuan Dynasties, and the changes in painting methods throughout the Ming Dynasty were also ups and downs.
At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the court paintings and Zhe school paintings that advocated Song Dynasty paintings were the main ones, and famous artists were all over the palace and folk.
In the middle of the Ming Dynasty, the Wu school painting, which inherited the tradition of literati painting emerged in Suzhou, and literati painting occupied all the positions in the painting world.
In the late Ming Dynasty, there were painting schools that opened up new areas of freehand flower and bird painting, deformed figure paintings and vivid portrait paintings that used ugliness as beauty, and Huating Landscape Painting School that emphasized pen and ink and advocated literati painting.
The paintings of the Ming Dynasty had great achievements, and generally focused on the literati painting school, and inherited the system of the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties.
After full integration, it has formed its own style.
In terms of the categories and themes of painting, traditional figure painting, landscape painting, and flower island painting are popular.
Among them, the most prosperous landscape painting school can be divided into three types: the magnificent Zhe school, the vigorous and lively court school, and the refined and meticulous Wu school.
Famous calligraphers and painters include Xu Wei, who is good at flowers and birds, Chen Hongshou, who is good at figure painting, and Dong Qichang, a master of landscape painting.
Ming Dynasty blue and white porcelain
The Ming Dynasty was an important development stage in the history of Chinese porcelain, and Jingdezhen porcelain products occupied the main market in the country.
Therefore, Jingdezhen porcelain truly represents the characteristics of the era of porcelain industry in the Ming Dynasty.
Jingdezhen porcelain of the Ming Dynasty is very brilliant, especially the blue and white porcelain, can be regarded as the representative of the Ming Dynasty porcelain, firing technology reached the peak of the development of China’s blue and white porcelain.
The Ming and Qing Dynasties were the period when blue and white porcelain reached its peak and then declined. The reign of Emperor Yongle and Emperor Xuande of the Ming Dynasty was a peak in the development of blue and white porcelain, known for its exquisite production.
Since the late Ming Dynasty, blue and white porcelain has gradually absorbed some elements of Chinese painting techniques.
During the reign of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty, blue and white porcelain reached its peak, but after the reign of Emperor Qianlong, it gradually declined due to the development of pastel porcelain.
Ming Dynasty architecture
In the Ming Dynasty, China entered the late feudal society. The architectural style of this period, inheriting the tradition of Yingzao Fashi style in the Song Dynasty, without significant change.
But the architectural design planning to the scale of grand, magnificent weather as the main characteristics.
The architectural style of the early Ming Dynasty is similar to that of the Song Dynasty and Yuan Dynasty, which is simple and vigorous.
The architectural style of the middle Ming Dynasty is rigorous, while the architectural style of the late Ming Dynasty tends to be complicated.
The court architecture of the Ming Dynasty is represented by the Forbidden City, and the folk architecture is represented by the Suzhou Garden.
In addition to the social class of the owners, the architecture was designed to pay attention to feng shui.
Ming Dynasty civil service exam
The Ming Dynasty civil service exam is divided into four levels. The first level is the exam in the state where you belong.
Passing this exam can get the title of xiucai and have the qualification to participate in the provincial examination.
Through the provincial examination, you can get the title of Juren and get the qualification of national exam.
National exam is a nationwide exam. By passing this exam, you can take the fourth level exam.
This examination is called court exam, presided over by the emperor. The person who wins the first place in this exam is called the Zhuangyuan.
Ming Dynasty economy
In the long history of the Ming Dynasty for nearly 300 years, there have been many great achievements in all fields of society.
The economy of the Ming Dynasty is also one of the historical topics talked about in later generations. When the Ming Dynasty was first established, due to the destruction of the war in the late Yuan Dynasty, the economy was withered, farmland was barren, and the economic situation was very chaotic.
The economic governance of the Ming Dynasty began with agriculture. At that time, the development of agriculture was inseparable from the advancement of technology and tools.
Moreover, high-yielding American crops such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, and corn were gradually spread to China after the 16th century.
In the Ming and Qing dynasties, when the population grew rapidly, high-yield grain production not only filled the stomachs of the majority of farmers to some extent, but also greatly delayed the outbreak of social conflicts.
After talking about agriculture, we will continue to talk about handicraft industry.
In the early Ming Dynasty, the government-owned handicraft industry flourished under the support of the court, but then it continued to shrink, while the private handicraft industry grew.
Especially in the late Ming Dynasty, with the exception of the salt industry, most of the handicraft industries were free from the imperial control.
The rise of Jingdezhen and other places is closely related to the local handicraft industry, and the gorgeous clothing of Ming Dynasty is the proof of the development of handicraft.