The reign of the Ming dynasty was of key historical importance for China. It began in 1368, founded by Zhu Yuanzhang, whose imperial reign continued for 31 years. The Ming rule is remembered as one of the greatest eras due to the good functioning of government and social stability.
During the Ming dynasty, China established a powerful naval fleet and a standing army, which numbered over 1 million soldiers. The country took on enormous architectural projects, such as the restoration of the Grand Canal and Great Wall and founding the Forbidden City.
Trade with the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch became a stimulus for the Ming imperial economy during the 16th century. China became part of the new global economy that traded wares, animals and crops, collectively called the Columbian Exchange.
Since the very foundation of the Ming dynasty's power, the predominant religion was Confucianism. A common phenomenon in the religious life of the Ming dynasty era was the existence of local cults among the people, along with the official religion.
During this period, the production and painting of porcelain wares developed in leaps and bounds, a well-known fact today.
The primary centers of porcelain production were Jingdezhen and Dehua. The workshops in Dehua at the beginning of the 16th century were intensively involved in exporting porcelain goods to Europe and as such specialized in production with accordance to European tastes.
The Forbidden City is an imperial palace, located in the heart of Beijing and was home to 24 emperors from the Qing and Ming dynasties. Construction of the palace began in 1406 and was completed 14 years later in 1420.
In antiquity, the emperor was thought to be a son of the sky and had absolute power. The palace was off-limits to commoners. The palace museum is a real collection of Chinese historical and cultural relics and has been declared one of the top 5 most important palaces in the world.
The Forbidden City is the best preserved imperial palace in all of China. Within its vast grounds sprawl 90 courtyards, 8704 rooms and 980 buildings.