Ming

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For our next meeting discussing the Ming Dynasty

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  • In A.D. 1213, Genghis Khan devastated northern China, sacking numerous cities in Hebei/Shandong provinces, reducing them into all ruins. By A.D. 1215, Beijing (known as Yanjing) fell, and history recorded the horrors of massacre and suicides. The Mongolian army, short of grain supply during the siege, would line their soldiers up, select soldiers via one out of every hundred or so, and kill them for food. As to the residents inside of Beijing, hunger led to cannibalism, too, and at the time when Beijing fell, innumerable number of women and girls jumped down from the city wall to commit suicide. Some western traveler recorded that the human oil from burning those dead bodies had been so thick that it did not disappear for a long time. In A.D. 1216, Genghis went back to Mongolia. http://www.imperialchina.org/Jurchen_Manchu.html
  • Yuan Dynasty 元朝 1271 - 1368From 1271 to 1368 China was ruled by Mongols. Genghis Khan (1162 - 1227) had begun the acquisition of the northern part of China in 1215 and his grandson, Kublai Khan (1215 - 1294) finished conquering the southern areas in 1271. Kublai Khan declared the Yuan Dynasty (元朝YuánCháo, 1271 - 1368) with himself as emperor. He posthumously declared Genghis Khan as the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. The first emperor of a dynasty in China is called Taizu太祖. It is a special honor and places the individual at the "top" of the ancestors. Thus, during ceremonies, which always included the honor of ancestors, the Taizu was mentioned first. Kublai Khan established his capital in Beijing in 1266. He began building the palace and increased fortifications to establish a base of operations and to rule the northern parts of China that were under Mongol control. It had been the central capital of the Jurchen Jin Dynasty before that. When it became the Yuan capital, it was called Dadu大都. It was Dadu that Marco Polo visited and wrote about in his travelogue. Kublai Khan's palace was built to the north of the present palace. By accounts it was elaborate and also a walled city, but only some sections of wall remain. Kublai Khan was responsible for building many of the canals and canals that still serve Beijing today. He had canals built to link Beijing directly with the Grand Canal. The canals linked Beijing with the rest of China, especially with the riches around Nanjing and Suzhou, the breadbasket of China. Roads were built, taxes were reformed, agriculture was encouraged, and the territory was expanded. China was linked with trade routes throughout Asia and as far as Europe. The Mongols controlled much of the continent and were cosmopolitan. They encouraged exchange of ideas and brought back artifacts from different cultures. They were not, however, popular with the Chinese people. They were foreigners and even though they adopted Chinese customs and traditions, they were Mongol. Even though they used Chinese expertise, the top positions in government and the army were reserved for Mongols. Chinese labor was used for the great projects, but under the direction of Mongols. The Mongols soon became very rich and accustomed to leisure and the pleasure of riches. Soon the defense forces were dispersed and failed to stay in training. The support for great public projects dwindled and the focus switched to personal wealth. Taxes were increased to support the rich lifestyle. More and more foreigners from the northern tribes were brought to China by the instant status they received and the possibility of wealth. They all drained the economy rather than building it. The Yuan Dynasty was relatively short-lived.Chinese formed groups to protest and rebel against Mongol rule and in 1351 one of these groups, called the Red Turbans, led an open rebellion against the Mongols. Soon after, a Chinese Buddhist monk joined the Red Turbans. His name was Zhu Yuanzhang朱元璋 (ZhūYuánzhāng). He had the power of leadership and soon became the head of the rebel forces. In 1356 he successfully invaded and took control of Nanjing. He wasn't alone. There were other rebel groups in the south of China and Zhu Yuanzhang set about eliminating them before he made a move against the Yuan Dynasty. The era is reminiscent of several periods in Chinese history, including the warlord era that followed the fall of the Qing Dynasty. All through the 1350's and 1360's rival factions of rebels chipped away at the Yuan strength in the south. One by one, Zhu eliminated his rivals and united the rebels under his command. He was then ready to attack the Yuan Dynasty directly and sent an army against Dadu (Beijing). He was victorious. The city was looted and much of it burnt after the last of the Yuan emperors, Toghan-Temür or Emperor Huizong (惠宗Huìzōng), fled to Mongolia. Huizong continued his dynastic reign in the north. He established what we call the Northern Yuan Dynasty. The Yuan emperors had maintained their connection to their tribal origins and when it came time to draw upon them, they were able to muster significant armies. Although internal weakness had allowed the rebels to defeat Huizong, he immediately began to make plans and train forces to regain what had been lost. The Mongol Empire was still a real force in the world. The trade routes through the west sustained them, but the loss of the fertile lands in the south to provide agricultural products damaged the economy as much as the loss of income from taxation. The Northern Yuan Dynasty and Mongols would continue to be a problem for the Chinese through most of the Ming Dynasty.http://hua.umf.maine.edu/China/HistoricBeijing/Forbidden_City/index.html
  • Mongols were great at conquering, but lousy at ruling. He set up the provinces as a mini Imperial government all their own eroded central authority.Internal Squabbles amongst his many sons and warlords speeded decline.Army was in shambles with no clear leader.At the end was a potent cocktail of peasant uprisings, secret societies like the white lotus and red turbans formed, and one natural disaster after another brought a harbinger of bad times. Ventures into Vietnam and south east Asia was a failure, as was his repeated costly attempts to invade Japan, (Kamikaze wind). This all contributed to the decline of the Yuan.
  • Mandate of HeavenEarly Chinese monarchs were both priests and kings. The Chinese people believed that their rulers were chosen to lead with a "mandate of heaven"—the Chinese belief that a dynasty was ordained to rule, based on its demonstrated ability to do so. It was a kind of political legitimacy based on the notion that the overthrow of ruler was justified if the ruler became wicked, lost the trust of the people or double-crossed the supreme being. The “mandate of heaven” was first adopted during the Zhou Dynasty (1100-221 B.C.) and was described as a divine right to rule. The philosopher Mencius (372-289 B.C.) wrote about it at length and framed it in both moral and cosmic terms, stating that if a ruler was just and carried out the prescribed rituals to the ancestors then his rule and the cosmic, natural and human order would be maintained. Later the mandate idea was incorporated into the Taoist concept that the collapse of a dynasty was preceded by "Disapprovals of heaven," natural disasters such as great earthquakes, floods or fires and these were often preceded by certain cosmic signs. According to these beliefs on September 8, 2040 five planets will gather within the space of fewer than degrees "signaling the conferral of heaven's mandate." The legendary emperors did not need to govern at all because the moral certitude that emanated from them was enough to bring about peace and prosperity. One ruler is said to have done nothing but reverently face the south. Basis of the Mandate of HeavenThe mandate of heaven was something earned through "virtue and moral rectitude" by a ruler that had a divine, magical and natural affect on the natural and social order. If the sacred social contract between the people and the ruler was violated, according to Sinologist Orville Schell, "the all-knowing forces of 'heaven' from which an emperor drew his 'mandate' to rule...would be withheld and his dynasty would collapse” and “the mandate then would be passed on to a new leader or dynasty.” Unlike Japan, whose emperor came from a family that descended from gods and therefore could not lose his power to rule, China was ruled by a dynasty whose mandate to rule could be taken away if the emperor violated his special relationship with the Chinese people. European monarchs traditionally had trouble claiming any kind of divine mandate. Behind the mandate of heaven was the belief that royal ancestors became divinities after they died. If they and heaven itself approved the current rulers their approval would make sure the world was in order; ying and yang were in balance, the seasons appeared when they were supposed to, harvests were plentiful and there were no calamitous events. If the royal ancestors and heaven didn’t approve then bad things would happen. Chinese history has traditionally been interpreted as a cyclical, astrologically-connected growth and decay of dynasties. The fuzzy, ambiguous aspect of the mandate known as the "right of rebellion" which allowed new dynasties to rise up and replace corrupt ones, has been instrumental in maintaining China's status as a state.
  • Ming Dynasty 明朝 1368 - 1644Zhu Yuanzhang declared the Ming Dynasty (明朝, MíngCháo) in 1368 and became the Hongwu Emperor. He chose to establish his capital in Nanjing. His base had been established there in 1356 and his supporters and military facilities were centered there. It was also a Chinese city with a long history. Zhu Yuanzhang wanted to restore the Chinese identity of government and the Mandate of Heaven. He rebuilt Nanjing, built an Imperial Palace, and expanded the city walls. The palace utilized ancient designs from the Tang Dynasty and was based on traditional astrology and customs. It later served as the model for the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Emperor Hongwu had several sons and chose the oldest as his successor. When that son died before he did, he chose his grandson as the next in line. Following the death of Hongwu, the fourth son, Zhu Di, attacked his nephew and took over the throne. Zhu Di (1360 - 1424) became the third Ming emperor in 1402. He chose the name Yongle, 永乐 (Yǒnglè), which means "perpetual happiness" for his reign. He spent the rest of his life trying to prove that he was the legitimate successor and truly bore the Mandate of Heaven; the right to rule. His reign was one of strong contrasts between construction and destruction.Yongle began his reign with a bloodbath filled with the supporters of his nephew. Throughout his career he continued to execute critics. He was also a builder. Despite the fact that his father had completed a new palace and had spent 21 years building new city walls, he decided to move the capital to Beijing. There were a number of reasons for the move, not least of which was that in Nanjing he was surrounded by potential enemies who opposed the usurpation of the throne. In Western monarchies, an usurper would contend with those who resented their loss of power, but in China an usurper had to contend with those who held the belief that the emperor was chosen by the heavens. If the heavens were not pleased, disaster would follow. The potential enemies of an usurper might be disinterested in their own power and wealth and driven by a religious devotion to a cause. Enemies like that are difficult to detect. The only way to defend oneself is to prove them wrong; to prove legitimacy.By moving the capital to Beijing, not only would he be moving to his own power base, but would also be able to station his main military force in the north to defend against Mongol raids that continued sporadically to threaten both Beijing and the north of China. While this would appear to put the capital at risk, the terrain around Beijing made it more easily defensible than was Nanjing. In spite of the extended walls of Nanjing, the hills around the city provided ample opportunity for an attacking force to fire from height. The decision to move the capital was made in 1403, but the construction of the palace and new walls didn't start until 1407. During the intervening years Yongle was stabilizing the country. There were still rebel groups in the south which had risen during the Yuan Dynasty, but had not recognized the Ming Dynasty. In addition, brigands had taken advantage of the lack of government to develop groups dedicated to theft and worse. The move north quickly showed that the canal systems of China were in drastic need of repair and rebuilding. He had the Grand Canal rebuilt and deepened to make communication between Beijing and the Jiangnan region more efficient. The Jiangnan region is the area around the Yangtze River, including Nanjing, Suzhou, and Shanghai. It was and continues to be the wealthiest region in China.A Chinese emperor demonstrates the Mandate of Heaven by avoiding natural disasters and making life better for the people. Natural disasters are avoided primarily be making sure that dykes and dams are strong enough to keep flooding in check. Canals and irrigation projects must be built and maintained. The country must ave the rule of law and taxation must be reformed. Each time a new dynasty is formed, such projects follow. The corruption of the previous regime is cast in a bad light and the new guys look like saviors. Interestingly, each of the dynasties then devolves into corruption and high taxation as succeeding generations move toward self-indulgence and elaboration of the rights of the nobility and the ministers at the expense of the populace.Beijing was planned as a statement of power. Not only was it to be grand, but also to link the Ming Dynasty, and Yongle, with all of the signs and symbols of heaven and good fortune. The orientation toward the south channeled the powers of the heavens. Symmetrical design reflected balance. The number of doors, bridges, dragons, and even roof ornaments each had meaning and symbol. Emperor Yongle chose a young architect to design and oversee the construction. Kuai Xiang 蒯祥 (KuǎiXiáng) was in his early thirties when he began the work. He used the Imperial Palace in Nanjing as the base model and incorporated historical references to palaces built during the Tang and Song Dynasties. He referenced Confucian, Daoist, and traditional astronomical belief systems to create an expression of Chinese philosophy and belief systems. It took 13 years to complete the initial palace and walls. Through the centuries additions have been made to the original design of the Forbidden City, but the heart of the palace is that of Yongle and Kuai Xiang.Yongle not only focused on civil engineering but also on economic and cultural development. His interest in all things Chinese caused him to commission an encyclopedia of all the known writings of philosophers, poets, and historians in Chinese history. The Yongle Encyclopedia 永乐大典 (YǒnglèDàdiǎn) was started in 1403 and finished in 1408. Over 2,000 scholars gathered in Nanjing to work on it. They produced 11,000 volumes describing the arts, sciences, technology, religious beliefs, and accomplishments of the Chinese people.Yongle supported Confucianism and followed the rites demanded of a Confucian ruler. Confucius had taught that by following the rites, the ruler maintained the order of society, The loyalty of the subjects demanded by Confucian ethics depended upon the reciprocal attention paid by the ruler to the well-being of his subjects and his ability to communicate with the gods. The prayers for good harvests, rain, freedom from disaster, and all good things were said during formal rites. There were rites for every momentous occasion. Different rites were performed at different levels of the hierarchy, the most elaborate being reserved for the emperor. At the same time, he tolerated and supported other religions including Daoism and Buddhism. Religious toleration and even exploration had been a feature of previous dynasties. During the Tang Dynasty the monk, Xuanzang玄奘 (XuánZàng), traveled to India to collect original Buddhist sutras and manuscripts. Depending on who was in power, Buddhism and Daoism were promoted, but whichever was out of favor was tolerated. In 1403 Yongle requested that the Tibetan monk, DeshinShekpa, come to Nanjing to talk about Tibetan Buddhism. He arrived in 1407 and remained for most of a year. He convinced Yongle that all religions were an expression of honor and prayer to the gods. The meeting between the two set the tone of religious toleration followed by most of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty.He furthered the growth of intellectualism and Confucianism by reinstating the examination system as the method of choosing administrators and ministers. The examinations were focused on the Confucian classics as they had been in the past. The ethical code was to serve as the binding concept for both daily life and the relationships within government. The by-product of the examinations system was the spread of schools and literacy. That foundation provided succeeding generations with the intellectual resources to bring about a flowering of Chinese culture.One of the ways Yongle stimulated the economy was to increase foreign trade and relations. In this effort he took a page out of the practices of the Yuan Dynasty. Under the Yuan Dynasty there was a natural connection with foreign lands since so many of them were ruled by relatives of the emperors. Yongle didn't have that luxury; he needed to establish new trading partners in new areas. The Mongol rulers of old trading partners were not likely allies. He sent Zheng He 郑和 (ZhèngHé), his favorite eunuch, on voyages of exploration. Zheng He traveled to points all along the coast of the China Sea, the Indian Ocean, and beyond - down the coast of Africa, at least to Madagascar. Voyages reached both east Africa and the Red Sea. Chinese explorers and traders had visited Africa before this time, but this was the first series of systematic government sponsored voyages on this scale. Hundreds of ships were included in the armadas. Each carried goods from the Chinese provinces and each returned with riches from far off lands.The explorations were costly. They brought back treasure, but not enough. The revitalization of the infrastructure was also expensive. While some projects helped the economy, others were a drain. The most expensive activity of the Yongle Emperor was the military establishment. He fought continuous battles with Mongol and Tartar tribes and maintained an enormous standing army. Taxes went up continuously to support all of these initiatives. While the Yongle Emperor wasn't self-indulgent and did not waste funds on extravagant personal pleasures, he did spend beyond the levels of the economic growth he was able to produce. He died in 1424 and was succeeded by his eldest son, the Hongxi Emperor 洪熙 (Hóngxī) who only ruled for a year. Even though he had only a year, the Hongxi Emperor was able to reverse many of his father's excesses. He cut spending, reduced taxes, and returned to a civil rather than a military governance structure. The next emperor of interest in the history of the Forbidden City was the Zhengtong Emperor (正統 Zhèngtǒng, 1436-1449). Zhu Qizhen was only 8 when he was crowned emperor. His advisor, a eunuch named Wang Zhen, began a building program to heighten the defenses of the city and the Great Wall. He strengthened the exterior walls by adding an additional layer of bricks on the inside of the walls to cut down on rain erosion. He added watch or archery towers, gate towers, and sluice gates to control the flow of the waters in the moats and the stream that ran through the Forbidden City. The bridges that crossed the Inner and Outer Golden Water Rivers of the Forbidden City were reconstructed of stone to replace the original wooden bridges. In 1449, the Zhengtong Emperor was captured and held by a Mongol force. He was only 22 years old. The Mongols continued to be a threat and required constant military action. The emperor had been captured when he led an expedition against the Mongol forces. The emperor's brother became the Jingtai Emperor (景泰 Jǐngtài, 1450–1457) and liked it so much that when his brother was released and returned to Beijing just a year later, Jingtai imprisoned him for the next seven years within the Forbidden City. He was held in palaces in the southwest of the Forbidden City, an area that is not open to tourists today. The Zhengtong Emperor was able to overthrow his brother and retake the throne in 1457. He named his second reign the Tianshun era ( 天順 Tiānshùn, 1457-1464). His problems with Mongols didn't end. Several generals of Mongol descent attempted a coup in 1461. The Tianshun Emperor and his guards fortified the Forbidden City. They were joined by other Mongol generals who remained loyal to Tianshun. The rebels set fire to the gates of the Forbidden City, but heavy rain helped save the emperor and the city. The coup was quashed, but heightened distrust of Mongols in the military even though the coup had been stopped by Mongols.The threat continued. In 1521 the Jiajing era (嘉靖 Jiājìng, 1521-1566) began. The Jiajing Emperor is of note because he chose not to live in the Forbidden City. As a youngster he was not in line for the throne and was not raised to endure the rigors of court life. He was an odd one. He had little interest in being emperor and neglected to perform general administrative functions. His response to ultimate power was to indulge in personal cruelty, especially toward women. Later in life he lived almost as a recluse, seeing only a few people. His passion was the attempt to find an elixir to prolong life or grant immortality. He employed Daoist priests in his efforts to experiment with different chemical compounds made of exotic herbs, precious gems, and rare minerals. The expeditions they mounted to discover new herbs and mine for gems were very expensive, but the graft and corruption that grew within the government was even more expensive. The Daoists were given great powers within the hierarchy, unchecked by any supervision. Although Jiajing was surrounded by Daoists, his interest was not in the philosophy. By all accounts he was a vicious and revengeful ruler. Any criticism was met by death. He was so cruel to the women in his household that several plotted to assassinate him in 1542. They failed and lost their lives. Their action only increased his paranoid isolation. The empire became so weak that the Mongols to the north decided to have another go at a takeover.In 1542 they began to increase the number and size of raids over the Great Wall. In 1550, the Altan Khan reached the suburbs of Beijing before being rousted. Immediately, the government ordered an additional wall to be built. The Outer City was enclosed by walls in a project that began in 1550. While most of the project was completed in 1557, defensive gates such as the Dongbian Men 东便门, on the east side, were not completed until 1564. The new wall enclosed both the Temple of Heaven and the Temple of Agriculture (see map below) while leaving both the Temple to the Sun and Temple to the Moon on the outside of the city walls. The Sun and Moon Temples were new Daoist temples built by Jiajing for his Daoist priests.The Jiajing Emperor died in 1566 leaving new city walls and a mess. He had reigned but not ruled for 45 years. It is amazing that the dynasty survived into the next century. Sporadically reform eras repaired the Ming Dynasty through economic development, administrative shake-ups, and a strengthened military. The first part of the Wanli era was a time of peace and prosperity. The government was reconstructed by the regent acting for Wanli, Zhang Juzheng (張居正, ZhāngJūzhèng). When Wanli reached the age to rule, he also served as a competent planner in the early years. He mounted a successful foray against the Mongol tribes that helped to end the threat from that quarter. He also mounted a defense of Korea against Japanese invasion that was eventually effective. These early successes seem to have ill prepared him for the routine of normal administration. His last twenty years were spent in battles within the palace hierarchy during which time he let government go completely. Because of the disarray of the ministries and the military, the growth of the power of the Jurchens or Manchu peoples was completely missed until it was too late. One reason for the quiet from the Mongol tribes was the threat they faced from the east where the remnants of the Jin Dynasty were under new leadership. The successful attack by Wanli had weakened the Mongols, and at the same time, opened opportunities for the Manchu, the successors of the Jurchen of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234).http://hua.umf.maine.edu/China/HistoricBeijing/Forbidden_City/index.html
  • The Hongwu Emperor (Chinese: 洪武帝, pHóngwǔdì; 21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), also known by his given name Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋) and his temple nameMing Taizu (明太祖, lit. "Great Ancestor of the Ming"), was the founder and first emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China. His era nameHongwu means "vastly martial".In the middle of the 14th century, with famine, plagues, and peasant revolts sweeping across China, Zhu rose to command over the army that conquered China and ended the Yuan Dynasty, forcing the Mongols to retreat to the central Asian steppe. Following his seizure of the Yuan capital Khanbaliq (modern Beijing), Zhu claimed the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming Dynasty in 1368. Trusting only in his family, he created his many sons as powerful feudal princes along the northern marches and the Yangtze valley.[6] Having outlived his first successor, the Hongwu Emperor enthroned his grandson via a series of instructions; this ended in failure when the Jianwen Emperor's attempt to unseat his uncles led to the Yongle Emperor's successful rebellion.[6]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongwu_EmperorRose from humble roots. Orphaned by yellow river flood at 16, he lived with Buddhist monks in monastery where he received education. When the temple was destroyed by Mongols, he dedicated himself to fighting them and joined white lotus society and united with Red turbans. As Emperor, Caused trouble when did not make clear a successor. His oldest son died, but he did not wish second son to rise, so he picked older son’s son.This caused 4 year civil war. There were 16 emperors during the Ming Dynasty.There were 14 emperors lived in the Forbidden City.And there were 13 Ming Emperors buried in the Ming Tombs
  • he had no right to call himself emperor.When his father, the first Ming emperor died in 1398, the true heir to the throne was Yongle's 20-year-old nephew, Jianwen.But Yongle was 18 years older than Jianwen and an aggressive warrior who had successfully defended China's northern reaches against the Mongols.Yongle believed heshould have given him the throne instead.He shows up to fathers funeral with a lot of muscle and was barred from entry by nephew Jianwen Emperor.This insult was too much and started 4 year civil war.1402 Assembled army, attacks takes Nanjing. Burns imperial palace to ground with Emperor. Or did it? The body was never found. Went to see fathers tomb and declared himself Emperor Yongle.Convinced he would return to challenge him. Persecuted previous emperors followers One advisor Fung Show Ru was asked to write an inaugural address for the new Emperor. When he refused out of loyalty, he was punished with the ultimate penalty… the continuous elimination of 9 tribes. This punishement was reserved for the most heinous crimes. It involves the excecution of an entire family going back many generations. The family was catagorized into 9 groups covering the family line from the great, great grandfather, all the way down to the great great grandchildren. When Fung Show Ru was executed, his family went down with him, parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, children, cousins, etc. When the penalty was given to him, he spat back at the emperor and said, don’t stop at 9, why not 10 tribes?For this, he was severed in half at the waist. As the legend goes, as he lay dying on the ground, he took his finger, dipped it in his blood and wrote the 16 stroke character for” Usurper” on the ground! (Take that YongleEmporer!)For good measure, the Emperor took his advice to go after a tenth tribe so and not only killed his family, but his students, colleagues and friends as well. 873 people were executed in total. The Emporer went back through the records and had all references to previous emperor removed to make it look like he was the only and original heir to the throne. All official trace of the last emperor was gone as if the last 4 years never happened. He reigned for the next 22 years. 1402-1424. Moved Capital to Beijing and set to construct most grand palace. Carried out massive reconstruction of Grand Canal and Great wall. Also had built the 9 story high porcelain pagoda in Nanjing. In it’s time it became an iconic site in China. In the 1800s it was struck by lightning destroying the top 3 floors, and later during the Taiping rebellion in 1856, it was completely destroyed. In 2004 Nanjing announced that they will rebuild this structure, (not finished yet). Led campaigns to expand the empire north and south. Put down rebellions and Got bogged down in Vietnam. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-563688/Revenge-evil-emperor-Mass-slaughter-Beijings-Forbidden-City.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_ceramics#Ming_dynasty.2C_1368.E2.80.931644
  • Yongle is in Changaling Tomb. He had about thirty beautiful women hanged to be buried with him after he died.
  • http://www.crystalinks.com/chinatombs.htmlConstruction of the tombs started in 1409 and ended with the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644. In over 200 years tombs were built over an area of 40 square kilometres, which is surrounded by walls totaling 40 kilometres. Each tomb is located at the foot of a separate hill and is linked with the other tombs by a road called the Sacred Way. The stone archway at the southern end of the Sacred Way, built in 1540, is 14 metres high and 19 metres wide, and is decorated with designs of clouds, waves and divine animals. Beijing served as the national capital during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Unlike Ming and Qing rulers who all built massive tombs for themselves, Yuan rulers left no similar burial grounds. Beijing nomads came from the Mongolian steppe. Mongols who established the Yuan Dynasty held the belief that they had come from Earth. They adopted a simple funeral method: the dead was placed inside a hollowed nanmu tree, which was then buried under grassland. Growth of grass soon left no traces of the tombs. During the Ming Dynasty established by Han Chinese coming from an agricultural society in central China, people believed the existence of an after-world, where the dead "lived" a life similar to that of the living. Ming emperors, therefore, has grand mausoleums built for themselves. Qing rulers did likewise. The stone archway at the southern end of the Sacred Way, built in 1540, is 14 metres high and 19 metres wide, and is decorated with designs of clouds, waves and divine animals. Well-proportioned and finely carved, the archway is one of the best preserved specimens of its kind in the Ming Dynasty. It is also the largest ancient stone archway in China. The Stele Pavilion, not far from the Great Palace Gate, is actually a pavilion with a double-eaved roof. On the back of the stele is carved poetry written by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty when he visited the Ming Tombs. The Sacred Way inside the gate of the Ming Tomb is lined with 18 pairs of stone human figures and animals. These include four each of three types of officials: civil, military and meritorious officials, symbolizing those who assist the emperor in the administration of the state, plus four each of six types of animals: lion, griffin, camel, elephant, unicorn and horse.
  • The design of the Forbidden City, from its overall layout to the smallest detail, was meticulously planned to reflect philosophical and religious principles, and above all to symbolize the majesty of Imperial power. Some noted examples of symbolic designs include:* Yellow is the color of the Emperor. Thus almost all roofs in the Forbidden City bear yellow glazed tiles. There are only two exceptions. The library at the Pavilion of Literary Profundity (文渊阁) had black tiles because black was associated with water, and thus fire-prevention. Similarly, the Crown Prince's residences have green tiles because green was associated with wood, and thus growth.* The main halls of the Outer and Inner courts are all arranged in groups of three — the shape of the Qiantriagram, representing Heaven. The residences of the Inner Court on the other hand are arranged in groups of six — the shape of the Kun triagram, representing the Earth.* The sloping ridges of building roofs are decorated with a line of statuettes lead by a man riding a phoenix and followed by an imperial dragon. The number of statuettes represents the status of the building — a minor building might have 3 or 5. The Hall of Supreme Harmony has 10, the only building in the country to be permitted this in Imperial times. As a result, its 10th statuette, called a "Hangshi", or "ranked tenth" (行什), is also unique in the Forbidden City. * The layout of buildings follows ancient customs laid down in the Classic of Rites. Thus, ancestral temples are in front of the palace. Storage areas are placed in the front part of the palace complex, and residences in the back.
  •  In the center of China's capital Beijing, the Forbidden City displays an extraordinarily harmonious balance between buildings and open space within a symmetrical layout. It contains immense courtyards, terraces and stairways, and buildings decorated with golden roofs, vermilion, vivid red pigment of durable quality. Columns and green, red and yellow facings are amazing. The Forbidden City conveys a strong image of wealth and earthly power and surpasses Versailles in its majesty, without abandoning a sense of human scale.The Wumen Gate building, the entrance of Forbiden City, is  located on the meridian line of the city. That was a gate tower buildingwas built in 1420. Its scope is next to Tai He Dian Palace. And it is the highest construction of the Forbidden City, the total height of which is 36 meters.
  • Yellow is the colour of the Emperor. Thus almost all roofs in the Forbidden City bear yellow glazed tiles. There are only two exceptions. The library at the Pavilion of Literary Profundity (ÎÄÔ¨¸ó) had black tiles because black was associated with water, and thus fire-prevention. Similarly, the Crown Prince's residences have green tiles because green was associated with wood, and thus growth. http://www.chinatourdesign.com/introduction_of_Forbidden_City/Symbolism_in_Forbidden_City.htm
  • The Hall of Supreme Harmony (G) is the largest, and rises some 30 metres (98 ft) above the level of the surrounding square. It is the ceremonial centre of imperial power, and the largest surviving wooden structure in China. It is nine bays wide and five bays deep, the numbers 9 and 5 being symbolically connected to the majesty of the Emperor.[42] Set into the ceiling at the centre of the hall is an intricate caisson decorated with a coiled dragon, from the mouth of which issues a chandelier-like set of metal balls, called the "Xuanyuan Mirror".[43] In the Ming Dynasty, the Emperor held court here to discuss affairs of state. During the Qing Dynasty, as Emperors held court far more frequently, a less ceremonious location was used instead, and the Hall of Supreme Harmony was only used for ceremonial purposes, such as coronations, investitures, and imperial weddings.[44]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_City
  • The lions are traditionally carved from decorative stone, such as marble and granite or cast in bronze or iron. Because of the high cost of these materials and the labor required to produce them, private use of guardian lions was traditionally reserved for wealthy or elite families. Indeed, a traditional symbol of a family's wealth or social status was the placement of guardian lions in front of the family home. However, in modern times less expensive lions, mass produced in concrete and resin, have become available and their use is therefore no longer restricted to the elite.The lions are always presented in pairs, a manifestation of yin and yang, the female representing yin and the male yang. The male lion has its right front paw on an embroidered ball called a "xiùqiú" (绣球), which is sometimes carved with a geometric pattern known in the West as the "Flower of life" The female is essentially identical, but has a cub under the closer (left) paw to the male, representing the cycle of life. Symbolically, the female fu lion protects those dwelling inside, while the male guards the structure. Sometimes the female has her mouth closed, and the male open. This symbolizes the enunciation of the sacred word "om". However, Japanese adaptions state that the male is inhaling, representing life, while the female exhales, representing death. Other styles have both lions with a single large pearl in each of their partially opened mouths. The pearl is carved so that it can roll about in the lion's mouth but sized just large enough so that it can never be removed.According to fengshui, correct placement of the lions is important to ensure their beneficial effect. When looking out of a building through the entrance to be guarded, looking in the same direction as the lions, the male is placed on the left and the female on the right. So when looking at the entrance from outside the building, facing the lions, the male lion with the ball is on the right, and the female with the cub is on the left.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_guardian_lions
  • Animal figures on roof ridges of palaces, temples and other old buildings are an important part of traditional Chinese architecture, which are not only zoomorphic ornaments of the building, but also represent the owner's status in the feudal hierarchy. The picture above shows there are six small animals, one large animal with an antler (the last one of the ridge), and a large one at the lower part of the main ridge). This picture was taken in the Forbidden City, Beijing. Here is a large picture of the photo. It is interesting to note that a god riding a phoenix (or a rooster), the first animal, leads the flock. Behind the god, come a qilin, a phoenix, a lion, and other figures. It is believed that the immortal god has super vision and hearing so he can perceive evil spirits from far away and then lead the beasts to fend them off. Here is a picture of the guardian figures on the ridges of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the most important palace in the Forbidden City, so are more animal figures on it. The double-layer roof makes the palace even more magnificent. http://chineseculture.about.com/library/weekly/aa_animals02a.htm
  • mperial symbols included the colors yellow and purple. The Emperor wore yellow robes and lived under roofs made with yellow tiles. Only the Emperor was allowed to wear yellow. No buildings outside those in the Forbidden City were allowed to have yellow-tiled roofs. Purple represented the North Star, the center of the universe according to Chinese cosmology. The dragon symbolized the Emperor while the phoenix symbolized the Empress. Cranes and turtles--traditional longevity symbols--associated with the Imperial court represented the desire for long reign. The numbers nine, associated with male energy, and five, representing harmony, were also linked with the Emperor.
  • The dragon as the symbol of the emperor and dragons show up in many parts of the Forbidden City.
  • Yu Garden was first conceived in 1559 during the Ming Dynastyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu_Garden
  • The design of the Forbidden City, from its overall layout to the smallest detail, was meticulously planned to reflect philosophical and religious principles, and above all to symbolize the majesty of Imperial power. Some noted examples of symbolic designs include:* Yellow is the color of the Emperor. Thus almost all roofs in the Forbidden City bear yellow glazed tiles. There are only two exceptions. The library at the Pavilion of Literary Profundity (文渊阁) had black tiles because black was associated with water, and thus fire-prevention. Similarly, the Crown Prince's residences have green tiles because green was associated with wood, and thus growth.* The main halls of the Outer and Inner courts are all arranged in groups of three — the shape of the Qiantriagram, representing Heaven. The residences of the Inner Court on the other hand are arranged in groups of six — the shape of the Kun triagram, representing the Earth.* The sloping ridges of building roofs are decorated with a line of statuettes lead by a man riding a phoenix and followed by an imperial dragon. The number of statuettes represents the status of the building — a minor building might have 3 or 5. The Hall of Supreme Harmony has 10, the only building in the country to be permitted this in Imperial times. As a result, its 10th statuette, called a "Hangshi", or "ranked tenth" (行什), is also unique in the Forbidden City. * The layout of buildings follows ancient customs laid down in the Classic of Rites. Thus, ancestral temples are in front of the palace. Storage areas are placed in the front part of the palace complex, and residences in the back.
  • http://www.beijingmadeeasy.com/beijing-history/chinese-eunuchshttp://books.google.com/books?id=067On0JgItAC&pg=PA302&lpg=PA302&dq=evil+ming+eunuch&source=bl&ots=5PxsvMt0J4&sig=iXsQGBiyni61FmZimsnXyU133lI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rQcAUYqfOIj29gSsrYHABg&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=evil%20ming%20eunuch&f=falsehttp://www.mingtombs.eu/o/eunu/eunu.htmlChinese EunuchsChinese eunuchs – despised throughout the agesChinese eunuchs often held immense power, but were unpopular among the people, and are often derided even by modern historians. Eunuchs are men whose testicles (and sometimes penis) have been removed.Why eunuchs?In China and much of the ancient world, rulers kept huge number of wives and concubines, partly because it was very nice to do so, and also to ensure the production of an heir. However, with such an abundance of potential mothers they worried that someone else might impregnate one of them. Eunuchs provided the perfect solution, if your concubines never came in contact with another testicled-man then they wouldn’t get pregnant by anyone else.Exactly how they were castrated varied. Sometimes only the testicles were removed, sometimes the penis was lopped off too so that they had to squat to go to the toilet. Sometimes a special gelding chair with holes for the appropriate bits to dangle through was used. It’s thought that up to one third of castrated men may have died as a cause of the operation.Castrating a man inhibits the production of testosterone in his body. This, so advocates of eunuchism say, renders him less prone to fits of temper and the temptations of the flesh. It could also help avoid male health problems such as baldness, and is claimed by some to increase longevity. Castration at a young age can cause the person’s limbs to grow to an extreme length.According to legend, castration has often been used to improve the effectiveness of soldiers. Apparently, rulers would sometimes remove the testicles of young men in order to promote growth and build himself an army of giants. Alternatively, the king would remove the men’s penises but leave their testicles intact. This would cause them such enormous sexual frustration that they would become exceedingly violent and aggressive – perfect on the battlefield.Throughout the Imperial Chinese dynasties, eunuchs were appointed to guard the royal household. Through daily contact with the Imperial family, they often gained immense power. Some eunuchs amassed huge fortunes through corruption, others had the Emperor so much in their power that they could effectively dictate policy.History books rarely look kindly upon eunuchs, who are generally assumed to be grasping, scheming, conniving and corrupt. Emperors rarely just ‘took the advice’ of a eunuch, instead they were ‘in his power’, and they never ‘ignored’ a eunuch, instead they were seen to be ‘curbing his power’.In spite of the obvious sacrifices that had to be made to become a eunuch, some poor families began to see it as a potential path to riches. Eventually, so many families were castrating their children in the hope that they might one day become rich and corrupt that voluntary castration had to be banned. In other words, you could only be castrated if you didn’t want to be.In traditional China, people believed that disfiguring the body would result in a disfigured soul, so eunuchs kept their testicles in the hope that they would be buried whole.Some famous Chinese eunuchsNot all eunuchs gained a reputation for being corrupt and evil. One famous eunuch is Zheng He, who was captured by a Chinese Army and castrated at a young age. He joined the Chineese Army and rose to the very top, eventually leading an armada of 300 junks on exploration missions which would reach afar afield as Africa, the Middle East, and possibly South America.Other famous eunuchs include CaiLun, who invented paper, and SimaQian a well respected chronicler and bureaucrat of ancient China. SimaQian only became a eunuch as an adult. He once insulted the emperor and, as punishment, chose to be castrated opposed to doing the honorable thing and committing suicide. SimaQian believed he had more to accomplish and thus could not commit suicide.Thanks to Melanie Ramsey for helping us improve this articleRecommended Chinese culture articles:Traditional Chinese Architecture: Evolution and History, Chinese Siheyuan CourtyardsChinese Religion: How To Tell Chinese Temples Apart, Buddhism, Taoism, ConfucianismBeijing Arts: Chinese Opera, Acrobatics, Tai Chi, Chinese GardensBeijing Society: ErNai, Lucky Numbers, Chinese Etiquette, Drugs in ChinaChinese History: Chairman Mao Zedong, Eunuchs, Chinese Emperors, Ancient History Timeline, Concubines, 20th Century TimelineImage: Actually from Qing Dynasty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Qing_Dynasty_Cixi_Imperial_Dowager_Empress_of_China_On_Throne_Sedan_With_Palace_Enuches.PNGRead more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-563688/Revenge-evil-emperor-Mass-slaughter-Beijings-Forbidden-City.html#ixzz2IeNVQPvX
  • Http://www.mingtombs.eu/o/eunu/eunu.htmlIlliterateThe first Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang (1328-1398), was keenly aware of the many troubles suffered by earlier Chinese dynasties caused by misdeeds of powerful palace eunuchs.Ming Eunuch TombsVery few Ming dynasty eunuch tombs have survived to modern times. Most of the tombs were located outside protected areas and were dug out and robbed shortly after interment. The best preserved eunuch tomb is Tian Yi's in western Beijing. He served three Ming emperors in the late 16th and early 17th century and died at the age of 72. His tomb has been converted into a eunuch museum, which you can see here. The only other known Ming eunuch tomb is that of Wang Cheng'en, the eunuch who committed suicide with his Emperor in 1644. He was given the special honor of being buried in a simple tomb some 50 meters from Siling, the tomb of his master, the last Ming Emperor Chongzhen (1627-1644), located in Shisanling, north of Beijing. This page carries several photos from his tomb. You can find the details of his grave site here.As a result he kept only a small number of eunuchs and insisted on only employing illiterate ones. This would make it difficult for them to meddle in state affairs.He allegedly went so far as to announce that any eunuch found interfering in government affairs would be decapitated, although there is no record of him ever carrying out such a threat.Castrated malesEunuchs often originated from the lower levels of society. With a surplus of male boys, families would sometimes decide to have some boys castrated and then presented to the court as a gift. If their sons did well, the family could hope for rewards in return.The court in turn also benefited from receiving such gifts.The eunuchs protected the palace women. On punishment of death no man other than the Emperor and eunuchs was permitted to enter the Emperor's private palace quarters.But Eunuchs also handled many trivial tasks like tending to the Emperor's daily needs which could otherwise only be handled by consorts and female servants. They served as handymen for the many small repair and maintenance tasks around the private sections of the royal palace.Eunuchs were less prone to get involved in corruption and striving for individual wealth and power since they had no need to cater for a wife or offspring. Or at least, so was the theory. Reality would prove over and over again that man's greed and thirst for power went far further than a desire to merely cater for one's own family.Wang Cheng'en's tombShisanlingAssuranceThe medical profession had made good strides already in Ming times. But when it came to palace eunuchs tending the precious harem, nobody took any chances.Every four years each eunuch was formally inspected for any sign of "male recovery".OriginFor the linguistically interested, the word 'eunuch' has its origin in the Greek language, "Eunoukhos".This is a combination of "eune" (bed or place of sleeping) and "okhos" (keeping, to have or hold). Or, in more contemporary language, "guard of the bedchamber".Non ConfucianThe eunuchs in Ming were only accountable to the Emperor, which gave them exceptional powers beyond the regular legal system.Stele carrying tortoiseWang Chengen's tomb, ShisanlingThey were tutors and confidantes to the young heir apparent and in this capacity to some extent able to both influence the prince's opinions and shape his political direction.But it is also easy to understand why the Emperor, tired from being inundated with Confucian values and government bureaucracy by righteous, well-educated Confucian ministers, would often prefer less formal discussions with his eunuchs.The civil- and military officials were well aware of the value of the eunuchs. The latter having direct access to the Emperor, many officials attempted to push their agenda through the eunuchs rather than through the formal channels.Eunuchs in each Ming ReignThe eunuchs may have been restricted to handle trivial chores in the imperial palace during the first Ming reign (1368-98) under the Hongwu Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang. And the fact that eunuchs had no training in military matters and were illiterate ensured that no state disasters caused by eunuchs were encountered in the Hongwu reign.Horse engraving on front memorial steleWang Chengen tomb, ShisanlingBut this was soon to change.During the short-lived 2nd Ming reign (1399-1402), many of the palace eunuchs in Nanjing spied on the Jianwen Emperor, providing the Prince of Yan, residing in today's Beijing, with valuable information in his successful campaign against the Emperor's attempt to purge the Prince.The Yongle emperor (1402-1424) deployed eunuchs to a far larger degree than his predecessors. He trusted them with important government missions and, in 1420, established the much hated and feared "Eastern Depot" (ED), a eunuch agency operating like a secret police bureau. The ED spied on military- and civil officials and even on the royal family. The agency operated beyond the legal system and was known for indiscriminate imprisonment and torture, occasionally even leading to 'mysterious' deaths. ED rightfully eliminated many internal enemies of the state, but the lack of accountability also allowed for personal vendettas and convictions on fabricated evidence.Palace Eunuchs, Tianyi eunuch museumThings took a major turn in the fifth Ming reign (1425-1435), when the Xuande emperor established a formal academy for eunuchs. This was a stark diversion from the tradition set by the first Ming emperor, who only would only allow illiterate palace eunuchs. Eunuchs would and could from now on handle official documents. Seriously augmenting the power of the eunuchs, the Xuande emperor also empowered the prestigious eunuch department of 'Directorate of Ceremonial' (DOC) with the handling of proposals from the grand secretaries to which the emperor disagreed. DOC could decide on such proposals on behalf of the Emperor without first consulting him, which essentially placed huge power in DOC's hands, if left uncontrolled.The sixth Ming reign (1436-1449) under the Zhengtong Emperor went further and saw the first usurpation of ultimate power by a eunuch. Eunuch Wang Chen had been appointed to the almighty DOC in 1435 and when the Zhengtong Emperor ascended the throne a year later, only eight years old, Wang became one of the six-member regency governing China under the control of Empress Dowager Chang. When she passed away in 1442, Wang took advantage of his closeness with the boy emperor -having been his first teacher and confidante- to dominate him and, eventually, push out the other regency member, making the Emperor's powers his own. Eunuch Wang Chen, and the empire, paid dearly for his power thirst and arrogance when he was killed in 1449 in the so-called T'umu incident, the disastrous outcome of an ill-conceived military campaign by a Ming army against the Mongols urged by Wang Chen and led by the young Emperor. The first Ming Emperor's fears of major eunuch disasters had come true less than a hundred years later.Tomb mound of Wang Chengen's grave, ShisanlingDespite the serious public anger over the abuse of power by eunuch Wang Chen directly causing a catastrophic capture of the Emperor and loss of the imperial army, the eunuchs' power remained strong in the army and the court in the seventh Ming reign (1450-1456) under the Jingtai Emperor. However, the most powerful eunuch and head of DOC, Qing An, miscalculated in supporting a failed appointment of a new heir apparent, and lost influence when the sixth emperor was reinstated as emperor of the eighth Ming reign (1457-1464).Masonry detailUnder the patronage of the wicked Lady Wan, favorite consort of the Chenghua Emperor (1465-1487), eunuchs exploited the empire on a massive scale during this the ninth Ming reign. Eunuchs began to issue edicts of appointments on their own, effectively selling off titles and positions, which allowed plunder of the prefectures. Many of the abuses seen in subsequent Ming reigns were modeled on those created in the ninth reign. As if the "Eastern Depot" (ED) secret police wasn't bad enough, the Chenghua Emperor authorized the establishment of a similar, but even worse "Western Depot" (WD), headed by yet another evil eunuch, Wang Chih.Eunuch, Qing dynastyThe Hongzhi Emperor of the tenth Ming reign (1488-1505) rooted out most of the massive corruption of the ninth reign. The powers of the ED and WD was reduced to simple investigative tasks and loyal, honest officials were appointed as heads, replacing corrupt eunuchs. Direct appointments were abolished and thousands of irregularly appointed officials were summarily dismissed. Eunuch power was curtailed and the court was again able to attract able and honest officials. The Hongzhi reign is generally recognized as having the largest number of loyal eunuchs cooperating in tandem with good officials.But it was to be a brief reprieve. Already in the eleventh Ming reign (1506-1521) the Zhengde Emperor allowed and even instilled excessive power in the eunuchs. Despite many complaints, eunuchs were in charge of most state matters, from imports, mining and manufacturing to tax collection and even military management. Several prominent eunuchs stood out as taking effective control of the empire. The Emperor left state matters to his eunuchs, who were quick to seize the opportunity for personal gain and power.Even though the Jiajing Emperor (1522-1566) purged powerful eunuchs early in this twelfth Ming reign, his goal was mainly to make way for his 'own' eunuchs in powerful positions. Provincial eunuch power was curtailed but within the administration and court the eunuchs now rose above the grand secretaries. By combining the posts and placing a eunuch as head of both DOC and ED, the emperor had de facto removed checks and balances of the eunuch administration. In 1552, the Emperor even established a separate Palace Army comprised solely by eunuchs.Wang Cheng'en's tomb seen from rearFrom right front: Tomb mound, memorial tomb stele,tortoise mounted tomb stele and name steleThe Longqing Emperor of the thirteenth Ming reign (1567-1572) engaged little in state affairs and by default allowed the fight for power between the eunuchs and the civil officials to prevail uncheckedThe Wanli Emperor of the fourteenth Ming reign (1573-1620) resented the eunuchs, whom he perceived as having imposed constraints on him in his early reign period. A notable exception was his staunch support for the many eunuch tax collectors, whom he had personally organized and tasked with finding new tax revenues. He was particularly supportive of the new, highly controversial and unpopular mining- and commercial taxes. The number of eunuchs increased significantly in this period.Dragons adorning the top of the memorial steleWang Chengen's tomb, ShisanlingIt is alleged that the fifteenth Ming reign under the Taichang Emperor only lasted 26 days in 1620 partially because a palace eunuch sympathetic to a palace consort, whose son had rivaled the Emperor for the succession, had given the Emperor some bad medicine.Eunuchs unsuccessfully attempted to interfere in the succession to the sixteenth Ming reign (1621-1627) but leading officials forced the rightful enthronement of the Tianqi Emperor. Being a weak ruler, factional infighting intensified and soon another eunuch, from the powerful position as head of ED, assumed political control of the empire and brutally purged his opponents.The Chongzhen Emperor, head of the seventeenth and last Ming reign (1628-1644), commenced his rule by eliminating the ruling eunuch clique, reinserting civil- and military officials into the important positions, all with the goal of establishing a balance in the court factions. Already a few years later he was so disillusioned in the capabilities of these officials that he again used eunuchs for investigations and inspections. At least the eunuchs provided unfiltered information directly to the Emperor. In the end, only the eunuch palace guard was there to defend the Emperor, when the capital was overrun by rebels in 1644. And it was a faithful eunuch, who committed suicide next to the Chongzhen Emperor when the latter hanged himself.Group of Eunuchs, Tianyi eunuch museumEvil Eunuchs ?These castrated males are often stereotyped as evil and catalysts in bringing about the fall of the Ming. But this is likely an unfair generalization, which could equally be applied to many other groups such as ministers and palace consorts.First, eunuchs were not necessarily a coherent group acting in unison towards a single objective of imperial power. Eunuchs were by and large as divided on their allegiance as any other group of the Ming court.Second, eunuchs were not confined to making intrigues in the palace court but carried out a huge number of tasks for the empire outside the palace walls.Apart from the traditional roles of tending to the needs of the Emperor, the palace and the consorts, they also over time engaged in jobs as diverse as special investigators, tax collectors, soldiers, envoys to foreign rulers, supervisors of foreign trade, military commanders, admirals, palace guards, managers of state monopolies and businesses, managers of imperial granaries and storehouses, just to mention a few.Third, although tales are plentiful of abusive eunuch power in the Ming dynasty, there seems to be a strong inverse correlation between eunuch power and capable rulers. Emperors, who were adept administrators and who engaged heavily and sincerely in state affairs, successfully limited eunuch influence in court and, in turn, took advantage of the confidence in and direct responsibility over the eunuchs to obtain information necessary to steer the empire in a right and just way.
  • Zheng He was born Ma He to a Muslim family in the far southwest, in today's Yunnan province. At ten years old he was captured by soldiers sent there by the first Ming emperor intent on subduing the south. He was sent to the capital to be trained in military ways. Growing up to be a burly, imposing man, over six feet tall with a chest contemporaries said measured over five feet around, he was also extremely talented and intelligent. He received both literary and military training, then made his way up the military ladder with ease, making important allies at court in the process. When the emperor needed a trustworthy ambassador familiar with Islam and the ways of the south to head his splendid armada to the "Western Oceans," he naturally picked the talented court eunuch, Ma He, whom he renamed Zheng.
  • Acquire and bring back as many ambassadors as they can to Kowtow before the emperor to shine a spotlight on Yongle’s reign.
  • A particular cobalt pigment was brought back from Persia to create that unique blue and white porcelain that was the calling card of the Ming Dynasty.
  • Imperial ChinaIn the decades after the last voyage, Imperial officials minimized the importance of Zheng He and his expeditions throughout the many regnal and dynastic histories they compiled. The information in the Yongle and Xuande Emperors' official annals was incomplete and even erroneous; other official publications omitted them completely.[2] Although some have seen this as a conspiracy seeking to eliminate memories of the voyages,[61] it is likely that the records were dispersed throughout several departments and the expeditions – unauthorized by (and in fact, counter to) the injunctions of the dynastic founder – presented a kind of embarrassment to the dynasty.[2]State-sponsored Ming naval efforts declined dramatically after Zheng's voyages. Starting in the early 15th century, China experienced increasing pressure from the surviving Yuan Mongols from the north. The relocation of the capital north to Beijing exacerbated this threat dramatically. At considerable expense, China launched annual military expeditions from Beijing to weaken the Mongolians. The expenditures necessary for these land campaigns directly competed with the funds necessary to continue naval expeditions. Further, in 1449, Mongolian cavalry ambushed a land expedition personally led by the Zhengtong Emperor at Tumu Fortress, less than a day's march from the walls of the capital. The Mongolians wiped out the Chinese army and captured the emperor. This battle had two salient effects. First, it demonstrated the clear threat posed by the northern nomads. Second, the Mongols caused a political crisis in China when they released the emperor after his half-brother had already ascended and declared the new Jingtai era. Not until 1457 and the restoration of the former emperor did political stability return. Upon his return to power, China abandoned the strategy of annual land expeditions and instead embarked upon a massive and expensive expansion of the Great Wall of China. In this environment, funding for naval expeditions simply did not happen.However, missions from Southeast Asia continued to arrive for decades. Depending on local conditions, they could reach such frequency that the court found it necessary to restrict them: the History of Ming records imperial edicts forbidding Java, Champa, and Siam from sending their envoys more often than once every three years.[62]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zheng_He#Voyages
  • http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zhenghemap.jpg
  • According to Menzie’s theory…
  • Mandate of HeavenEarly Chinese monarchs were both priests and kings. The Chinese people believed that their rulers were chosen to lead with a "mandate of heaven"—the Chinese belief that a dynasty was ordained to rule, based on its demonstrated ability to do so. It was a kind of political legitimacy based on the notion that the overthrow of ruler was justified if the ruler became wicked, lost the trust of the people or double-crossed the supreme being. The “mandate of heaven” was first adopted during the Zhou Dynasty (1100-221 B.C.) and was described as a divine right to rule. The philosopher Mencius (372-289 B.C.) wrote about it at length and framed it in both moral and cosmic terms, stating that if a ruler was just and carried out the prescribed rituals to the ancestors then his rule and the cosmic, natural and human order would be maintained. Later the mandate idea was incorporated into the Taoist concept that the collapse of a dynasty was preceded by "Disapprovals of heaven," natural disasters such as great earthquakes, floods or fires and these were often preceded by certain cosmic signs. According to these beliefs on September 8, 2040 five planets will gather within the space of fewer than degrees "signaling the conferral of heaven's mandate." The legendary emperors did not need to govern at all because the moral certitude that emanated from them was enough to bring about peace and prosperity. One ruler is said to have done nothing but reverently face the south. Basis of the Mandate of HeavenThe mandate of heaven was something earned through "virtue and moral rectitude" by a ruler that had a divine, magical and natural affect on the natural and social order. If the sacred social contract between the people and the ruler was violated, according to Sinologist Orville Schell, "the all-knowing forces of 'heaven' from which an emperor drew his 'mandate' to rule...would be withheld and his dynasty would collapse” and “the mandate then would be passed on to a new leader or dynasty.” Unlike Japan, whose emperor came from a family that descended from gods and therefore could not lose his power to rule, China was ruled by a dynasty whose mandate to rule could be taken away if the emperor violated his special relationship with the Chinese people. European monarchs traditionally had trouble claiming any kind of divine mandate. Behind the mandate of heaven was the belief that royal ancestors became divinities after they died. If they and heaven itself approved the current rulers their approval would make sure the world was in order; ying and yang were in balance, the seasons appeared when they were supposed to, harvests were plentiful and there were no calamitous events. If the royal ancestors and heaven didn’t approve then bad things would happen. Chinese history has traditionally been interpreted as a cyclical, astrologically-connected growth and decay of dynasties. The fuzzy, ambiguous aspect of the mandate known as the "right of rebellion" which allowed new dynasties to rise up and replace corrupt ones, has been instrumental in maintaining China's status as a state.
  • Time was up for the Ming. Someone opened the gates for the marauding Manchu rebels and the theChongzhen Emperor hung himself rather than face them.
  • Between England and the Ming Dynasty (1638 - 1644)27 June 1637 First direct contact between British and Chinese. Four heavily-armed ships under Captain John Wendell, arrive at Macao in an attempt to open trade between England and China. They are not backed by the East India Company, but rather by a private group led by Sir William Courteen, including King Charles I's personal interest of £10,000. They are opposed by the Portuguese authorities in Macao (as their agreements with China require) and quickly infuriate the Ming authorities. Later in the summer they easily capture one of the Bogue forts, and spend several weeks engaged in low-level fighting and smuggling. After being forced to seek Portuguese help in the release of three hostages, they leave the Pearl River on 27 December. It is unclear whether they returned home.[3][4][5]
  • Ming

    1. 1. Genghis Khan Born: 1162, Died: August 18, 1227,“I am the punishment of God...If you had not committed great sins,God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”
    2. 2. Yuan Dynasty 1271 - 1368 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szxPar0BcMo
    3. 3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr_PNoCZXg4
    4. 4. Kublai Khan Marco Polo
    5. 5. Mandate of Heaven
    6. 6. The last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese is described as,“One of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history"
    7. 7. The Hongwu Emperor The Hongwu Emperor was the founder and firstemperor of the Ming Dynasty of China. Hongwu means "vastly martial“.Hung-Wu threw the Mongols out. One of the two Emperors ofancient China who came from peasant background, he claimed the Mandate of Heaven and established the Ming Dynasty in 1368.
    8. 8. Yongle Emperor17 July 1402 – 12 August 1424 Porcelain Tower of Nanjing Between 1406 and 1420, he directed the construction of the Forbidden City. He was also responsible for the Porcelain tower of Nanjing, considered one of the wonders of the world before its destruction by the Taiping rebels in 1856. After a painfully long construction time (1407–1420), the Forbidden City was finally completed and became a capital city for the next 500 years.
    9. 9. The Yongle Encyclopedia was a Chinese compilation commissioned by Emperor Yongle in 1403 and completed by1408. It was the worlds largest known general encyclopedia for 600 years, and one of the earliest.
    10. 10. The Ming began exportingporcelain around the worldon an unprecedented scale.
    11. 11. The Ming Tombs
    12. 12. The Sacred Road is lined with18 pairs of stone human figures and animals.
    13. 13. The Forbidden City
    14. 14. The Forbidden City is also called the Palace Museum
    15. 15. At the beginning of the fifteenth century AD, the third Ming Emperor, Yongle created one of themost dazzling architectural masterpieces in the world. Forbidden City, the Imperial Palacecomplex in Beijing, contains hundreds of buildings and some 9,000 rooms. It served theemperors of China from 1421 to 1911.
    16. 16. Yellow is the color of the Emperor. Thus almost all roofsin the ForbiddenCity bear yellow glazed tiles.
    17. 17. N
    18. 18. The throne in the Hall of Preserving Harmony
    19. 19. MaleFemale
    20. 20. a god riding a phoenix (or a rooster), thefirst animal, leads the flock. Behind the god,come a qilin, a phoenix, a lion, and otherfigures. It is believed that the immortal godhas super vision and hearing so he canperceive evil spirits from far away and thenlead the beasts to fend them off.
    21. 21. The dragon as the symbol of the emperor and dragons show up in many parts of the Forbidden City.
    22. 22. Yuyuan Gardens
    23. 23. Behai Park
    24. 24. Eunichs: (Castrated Males)• Often originated from the lower levels of society.• Families would sometimes decide to have some boys castrated and then presented to the court as a gift.• The eunuchs protected the palace women.• Eunuchs also tended to the Emperors daily needs which could otherwise only be handled by consorts and female servants.• They served as handymen for repairs and maintenance around royal palace.• It was believed that Eunuchs were less prone to get involved in corruption or strive for individual wealth and power. (so went the theory).
    25. 25. Keeping their severed "treasure parts" in a jar and prizing them as proof of their devotion to their master, the 3,000 eunuchs at Yongles court were his most trusted lackeys.The eunuchs in Ming were only accountable to the Emperor, which gave them exceptionalpowers beyond the regular legal system. The Yongle emperor trusted them with importantgovernment missions and, in 1420, established the much hated and feared "EasternDepot", a eunuch agency operating like secret police. The ED spied on military- and civilofficials and even on the royal family. They operated beyond the legal system and wereknown for indiscriminate imprisonment and torture, and mysterious deaths. While theywere tasked with eliminating many internal enemies of the state, their lack ofaccountability allowed for personal vendettas based on fabricated evidence. Eunuchs evenbegan to issue edicts of appointments on their own, effectively selling off titles andpositions, which allowed plunder of the prefectures.
    26. 26. Zheng He was born in 1371 to a Muslim family in the southwest. At ten years old he was captured by soldiers sent there by the first Mingemperor intent on subduing the south. Like many otheryoung boys captured, he was made a Eunuch. From 1405 until 1433 Zheng He led seven ocean expeditions for the Mingemperor that are unmatched in world history in size and scope.
    27. 27. Because the Yongle emperor wanted to impress Ming power upon the world andshow off Chinas resources and importance, he gave orders to build a huge showfleet of ships to go out into the world to open trade and bring back ambassadors.Over sixty of the three hundred seventeen ships on his first voyage were enormous"Treasure Ships," sailing vessels over 440 feet long, 165 feet wide, with severalstories, nine masts and twelve sails, and luxurious staterooms complete withbalconies. The likes of these ships had never before been seen in the world, and itwould not be until World War I that such an armada would be assembled again.
    28. 28. Double hulls divided into separate watertight compartments saved ships fromsinking if rammed, but it also offered a method of carrying water for passengers and animals, as well as tanks for keeping fish catches fresh.
    29. 29. What was even more impressive about these voyages was that they were done with hundreds of vessels at a time. There were 1681 ships in total in the Ming fleet, with tens of thousands of sailors and otherpassengers. Besides the treasure ships, there were water transport ships, troop ships, horse and livestockships… even ships with live fruit trees, vegetables, etc. It was a massive operation that impressed every country and port they sailed into.
    30. 30. The Ming Dynasty had reached a peak of naval technology unsurpassed in the world. They meant to establish China’s superiority and by offering generous and extravagant gifts with the intention ofbringing back ambassadors from nearly every country they visited. These ambassadors would have to Kowtow to the Emperor and subjugate themselves to open up trade.
    31. 31. A particular cobalt pigment was brought back from Persiato create that unique blue and white porcelain thatbecame the calling card of the Ming.
    32. 32. On May 9th, 1421, lightning struck three great ceremonial halls in the ForbiddenCity, namely the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall ofPreserved Harmony. The fires reduced the halls to ashes, spread to the treasury andapartments, killing a large number of men and women. Even the imperial throne was burntto cinders. Many wondered if the Emperor was losing the Mandate of Heaven.
    33. 33. The Emperor was in danger of loosing the Mandate of Heaven, when… An African Giraffebrought back by theTreasure Ships was taken to be theauspicious, mythical creature Gilin.
    34. 34. China Turns InwardIn the decades after Zheng Hes last voyage, state-sponsored naval efforts declined dramatically. In a conspiracy seeking to eliminate memories of the voyages, Imperial Confucian officials minimized the importance of Zheng He and his expeditions throughout the many dynastic histories they compiled, destroying most of the records.
    35. 35. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocUIzwMPbx4&noredirect=1
    36. 36. 1763 Chinese map of the world, claiming to be a reproduction of a 1418 map made fromZheng Hes voyages. Lui Gang stated he discovered it in 2005 but it is disputed as a possible forgery.
    37. 37. Martin Waldseemüller published his map of the Americas and thePacific in 1507, twelve years before Magellan set sail. In 1515, fouryears before Magellan sailed, Johannes Schöner also published a mapthat showed the straits of Magellan he is said to have “discovered.”
    38. 38. Mandate of Heaven
    39. 39. The End of the MINGTime was up for the Ming. Corruption, natural disasters and popular uprisings took theirtoll on the Ming, but it was the invading Manchu rebellion that did the Ming Empire in.As the Manchu invaded, someone opened the gates for the marauding rebels.The Chongzhen Emperor hung himself rather than face them.
    40. 40. Emperor Qing KangxiDynasty The Ming Dynasty fell in 1644. The Manchu then formed the last Dynasty of China, the Qing.
    41. 41. Macau

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