The art of the Ming dynasty

The Ming dynasty reestablished independent rule in China, along with Chinese artistic and architectural traditions.

1368–1644 C.E.

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What is the Ming dynasty?

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Miniature furniture and figurines in a Ming tomb
Miniature furniture and figurines in a Ming tomb

Mini furniture and figurines give us a tiny look into Ming dynasty life

Shakyamuni, Laozi, and Confucius
Shakyamuni, Laozi, and Confucius

The composition of the painting seems to have borrowed depictions of the Three Laughers of Tiger Creek, a popular allegorical story about the meeting of three famous figures.

Li (tripod)-shaped cloisonné incense burner
Li (tripod)-shaped cloisonné incense burner

The smoke from incense was used as a link between the earthly realm and the heavenly world.

Shen Zhou, <em>A Spring Gathering</em>
Shen Zhou, A Spring Gathering

Artists during the Ming dynasty often honored their patrons by portraying them in a garden studio.

Wang Wen, <em>Poem in cursive script</em>
Wang Wen, Poem in cursive script

This Chinese calligraphy piece is written on a folding fan.

Qiu Ying, <em>Journey to Shu</em>
Qiu Ying, Journey to Shu

Painted in lavish mineral-based colors of blue, green, and brownish yellow, this painting is a typical “blue-and-green” landscape in Chinese art

Copy after Qiu Ying, <em>Playing the Zither Beneath a Pine Tree</em>
Copy after Qiu Ying, Playing the Zither Beneath a Pine Tree

A scholar playing a zither while enjoying some beautiful scenery is a popular genre in Chinese landscape paintings.

<em>Eleven Dragons</em> handscroll
Eleven Dragons handscroll

This handscroll vividly portrays eleven dancing dragons.

<em>Palace Women and Children Celebrating the New Year</em>
Palace Women and Children Celebrating the New Year

This painting depicts the most important festival in China—the Lunar New Year.


This canteen exemplifies the dynamic flow of ideas and objects between the Islamic world and China that invigorated both artistic traditions.

Standing figure of Guanyin as Buddha
Standing figure of Guanyin as Buddha

This ivory image of Guanyin of art shows extreme attention to decorative details

Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven, founded in the first half of the 15th century, is a dignified complex of fine cult buildings set in gardens and surrounded by historic pine woods

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