Ming: The Golden Empire
27 June – 19 October 2014
Chinese national treasures from the Nanjing Museum's collection reveal the remarkable cultural, technological and economic achievements of the Ming dynasty.
Ming, meaning brilliant or bright, was the ruling dynasty between 1368 and 1644. One of the greatest periods of social stability, it was the starting point of modern China.
The display includes an array of luxury items and rare objects, revealing the wealth and opulence of the Ming imperial court. As well as the iconic blue and white porcelain, there are silk textiles, gold and jades and elaborately enamelled cloisonné. Meanwhile, a collection of life-size portraits capture the men who were at the very top of the late Ming social order.
But this was also a period of social transformation, with wealth extending beyond the confines of the court. Many forms of visual art and handicraft flourished; furniture, musical instruments, Buddhist artefacts and items of personal adornment evidence the elegant tastes of Chinese society in this age.
A painting from the early Ming illustrates the symbolic grandeur and geometrical order of Beijing’s newly-built Forbidden City. The world’s largest palace complex, it was to be the imperial seat for emperors and their households for the following five centuries.