The Ming dynasty was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Hans from 1368 to 1644. Empire of the great Ming or the Ming dynasty is considered as one of the greatest period of social stability and orderly government in the history of human civilization. A peasant known as Emperor Hongwu founded the Ming dynasty. Sixteen emperors ruled the period of the dynasty and it lasted for nearly two hundred and seventy six years.
The society of Ming dynasty was more or less based upon the older dynasties. The division of society based on scholars, farmers, artisans and merchants had less meaning during this period. The class of society was based on two groups- the educated masses and the uneducated masses. However, many reforms have been made in politics, military and other systems. The dynasty shows a heavy political influence of merchants, technological advancement and the weakening of imperial rule. It is recorded as an era of social movements and economic growth in its history.
Ming dynasty follows a universal approach towards religious beliefs. Worship of ancestors is one of the popular forms of religious belief of the Ming dynasty. The other forms of religious beliefs of Ming dynasty are Taoism and Buddhism. Many people also believe in Chinese folk religion. Christianity had existed but it was not popular as it is today in China. The Ming dynasty has less significance in terms of science and technology as compared to other dynasties.
Ming dynasty is marked as one of the golden age in Chinese dynasty. Block printing and wood cut became popular in this era. It is an age of knowledge and information where dictionaries and encyclopedia contain more information on medicine, history and music. Silk and cotton looms were made out of machines. High tech machines were use for agricultural purposes. The reparation and expansion of the great wall in this period remains as a landmark in its history. Enormous work like establishment of Forbidden City and restoration of Grand Canal were carried out in the era.
The Ming dynasty has made a notable contribution in the field of literature, arts and philosophy. Essays, poetry and philosophy were written in the form of classical Chinese. Drama and poetry are the most popular forms of literary woks during this period. In terms of art, many painting skills and techniques were developed. Painters made use of more colors and seal brown was commonly used in all paintings. Many schools of painting emerged with excellent masters and calligraphy was combined with the art of painting. The Neo-Confucianism of Chu Hsi is the dominant philosophy in China during the period.