Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World
Lesson C: China — Mongol to Ming Rule
Activity 6: Ming Culture and Daily Life
In addition to the issues surrounding the Ming economy and foreign interaction, the cultural achievements of the Ming are considered an influential legacy of the time period. Innovations in art and literature reflected a mix of traditional Chinese customs and foreign ideas made possible by interaction between the people of Asia.
Directions: As you read about Ming culture and society in Ming China, think about the following question: How and why did interaction lead to social changes?
Society in the Ming Empire reflected the achievements typical of China throughout its history. The high demand for rare porcelain pieces in Europe and the rest of Asia was driven by the creation of uniquely decorated goods. Ming "china" is the term used for expertly crafted pottery and expensive dining pieces. The red piece pictured here was decorated using lacquer, a design imprinted on a porcelain box.
Writing and arts were built on the works of earlier Tang and Song dynasties. Literature, encyclopedias, and newspapers were created. Paintings often depicted the natural environment in detailed fashion.
Religion included elements of traditional Chinese folk religions, with a focus on worshipping ancestors. Christianity, Islam and Buddhism were also evident in Ming society. Ming developments in philosophy and the sciences borrowed from European advances in mathematics, astronomy, and technology. Examples include early industrial production processes, such as the primitive blast furnace used for smelting and creating iron products, as pictured here.
Classroom Activity - Interaction
Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion question(s) below. Follow your teacher's directions to participate in your class discussion.
- How and why did interaction lead to social changes?
Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool.
Written Activity - Student Resource
Answer the following questions on your Student Resource: Mongol to Ming Rule Graphic Organizer.
- Select one example from Ming society, and explain how it was the result of interaction with foreigners.
- What challenges faced the empires of China during the period 1300-1550?
- How did trade and interaction affect the empires of China during the period 1300-1550?
Submit the completed graphic organizer to your teacher as instructed.
 Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:B-ChinesischeLackdose.JPG is licensed under the terms of the GNU License Agreement.
 Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lofty_Mt.Lu_by_Shen_Zhou.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
 Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chinese_Puddle_and_Blast_Furnace.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.