Study Group Autumn 2015 The Ming Dynasty 1368 to 1644

Over the last few years the Study Group has considered, researched and presented papers on the Chinese dynasties from the Han to the Huan. We all enjoy choosing a subject, finding out as much as we can about it and then preparing and presenting a paper on it. We do not take ourselves too seriously but we do enjoy hearing what other members of the group have discovered and interacting with them in a relaxed atmosphere. It is a stimulating experience to learn so much of history and art particularly when one is part of a group which enjoys sharing such information.

We have now reached yet another of the golden eras of Chinese history with the Ming Dynasty. It was an exciting time of great advances within China. An age of cultural, scientific and technological achievements which led China to the forefront of the known world. The development of the printing process encouraged the availability of the popular novel and classics such as The Journey to the West and Outlaws of the Marsh led to a growing literacy. Advances in medical science meant that people lived longer and were less prone to outbreaks of plague. Improvements in agriculture and agricultural tools increased harvests and led to better dietary health, Blue & White porcelain, jade and bamboo carving demonstrated the skills of Chinese craftsmen and architectural success in the creation of much of the Forbidden City, the reconstruction and completion of the Great Wall and the re-opening of the Grand Canal all demonstrated what could be done in an age of relative peace at least for the majority of the Dynasty. Advancement in weaponry and artillery made the army a force to be reckoned with and acted as a deterrent to unrest and revolt. Overseas trade prospered to hitherto unseen heights and Chinese vessels under Admiral Zheng He explored seas previously unknown to Chinese vessels and traders.

We believe that there are many interesting skills, personalities, events and achievements of the dynasty which merit further exploration or expansion upon those already made known. Do join us for what will be a fascinating and rewarding series of presentations on the Ming. You will not be disappointed!

Bookings and Enquiries:

Contact Patrick Moss at [email protected]

photo copyright Marilyn Shea 2005