The accompanying title to the current Museum exhibition, Ming: 50 years that changed China, 18 September 2014 – 5 January 2015.
This titles explores the early Ming period in the years 1400–1450, a time when China was the largest (and one of the most prosperous) states in the world, ruled by a single family through a network of imperial and regional courts.
Through the themes of court people and their lives, extraordinary developments in culture, the military, religion, diplomacy and trade, this book brings the wider history of this fascinating period to colourful life.
Craig Clunas: Professor of the History of Art, University of Oxford.
Jessica Harrison-Hall: Curator of Chinese Ceramics, British Museum.
More about the early Ming period
This was an age of great voyages of exploration, undertaken for many reasons including trade and diplomacy. Long before the regular arrivals of Europeans in China, court-sponsored expeditions were sent to Asia, the Middle East and the African coast, bringing back knowledge of and objects from lands thousands of miles away – gold, gems and foreign fashions.
This period also saw the compilation of the world’s first comprehensive encyclopaedia (worked on by over 2000 scholars); the undertaking of major building projects such as the Forbidden City and Ming tombs; the creation of beautiful textiles, paintings, ceramics, gold, jewellery, furniture, jade and lacquer.