Ming: Art, People and Places

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The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) is regarded as Chinas golden age, equivalent in British history to the Elizabethan era. Through the themes of people and places and a wealth of objects, this beautifully illustrated little book provides a concise and fascinating introduction to the Ming period. The colourful and rich nature of life for the emperors and their families within the vast palaces of Nanjing, Beijing and beyond is captured in the exquisite imperial portraits, paintings, costumes and jewellery. Beyond the courts, outdoor spaces were enjoyed by many people, and journeys into the countryside undertaken for different purposes. Parties were held in gardens with friends and sports such as football and golf kept people fit. Amongst other goods, Chinese porcelain and silk were highly regarded throughout the world at this time. The author looks at the main production centres, the extensive distribution networks, and the roles of craftsmen, salesmen and customers. As so much of our knowledge of Ming China derives from archaeology, tombs of royals and non-royals are featured and major finds from them illustrated. Religious sites monasteries, temples and mosques are also explored; rare surviving examples of architecture from the Ming period. The book concludes with an introduction to some of the imagined spaces of the Ming, including realms for various gods. Here are palaces and parks; tombs and temples; silk-production sites and sacred mountains; emperors and empresses; soldiers and salesmen; princes and potters: a visual feast that captures the flavour of the remarkable Ming dynasty.