Ming Dynasty Art (1368-1644)





Porcelain was very popular in the Ming Dynasty. Jingdezhen was the capital of porcelain at the time and the market for pocelain rapidly increased as the demand for tea increased. Tea pots and vases were widely sold and exported for profit. Designs of porcelain ranged from politcal figures, chinese mythology, floral designs, and landscape designs. Political officals and people of higher social classes would sometimes be depicted on porcelain pottery because they could afford to pay the chosen artist to put themselves on the pottery. Dragons are very common in porcelain pottery. Dragons were believed to be the rulers of the sea and sky. Dragons were also worshipped and prayed to for good weather and strong crops. The human soul is also seen as dragons and often shown chasing after jewels and other types of properties. Ming Dynasty porcelain can be purchased still for a high price but there are people who make replicas for a smaller price.





The Ming Dynasty is highy remembered for its Forbidden City, which was built in 1406-1420, and the large portion of the Great Wall of China that took over 100 years to build. Pieces of art could be found along the walls and ceiling of the Forbidden City palace. Calligraphy, paintings and sculptures can be found almost everywhere in the Forbidden city. Buddah and other religous figures can be viewed on the walls in the palace. Along with more paintings of more dragons and high political figures can also be seen such as portraits of the Emperors. Another great piece of architectural art is the Temple of Heaven which is found in southeasten China. Heaven was believed to have a circular shape while the earth was believed to be square. This explains the square wall and the circular tower. Inside there are sculptures and paintings of how heaven is depicted in Ancient times. Heaven was also believed to have different levels. The different levels of heaven are shown throughout the Temple. As one would progress to the top of the tower showed to progress of heaven and how it will look.


Paintings were very common though out the Ming Dynasty. To be a professional artist the a court would choose a single artist to paint landscapes and political actions or leaders. This style of painting was also common in the Song Dynasty. Paintings were typically done on scrolls of papers which gave the artists a large vertical range of area that was desired to be painted. This explains why mountain landscape paintings were very popular during this time. Also, birds were a very popular theme in paintings. Artists would sometimes paint themselves with a student to teach the student how to paint. Ming Dynasty replica paintings can be purchased for a high price.