A porcelain vase from the Jiajing reign period (1521-1567); Chinese culture became a consumptionary-based culture by the late Ming. Social elites were expected to know the difference between shoddy crafts and fine wares, and even which type of plants were to be appreciated as rare and exotic enough for one's garden.
A 17th century Tibetan thangka of Guhyasamaja Akshobhyavajra; the Ming Dynasty court gathered various tribute items which were native products of Tibet (such as thangkas), and in return granted gifts to Tibetan tribute-bearers.
Chinese glazed stoneware statue of a Daoist deity, from the Ming Dynasty, 16th century.
Spring morning in a Han palace, by Qiu Ying (1494-1552); excessive luxury and decadence were hallmarks of the late Ming period, spurred by the enormous state bullion of incoming silver and private transactions involving silver.
The only surviving piece of furniture from the "Orchard Factory" (the Imperial Lacquer Workshop) set up in Beijing in the early Ming Dynasty. Decorated in dragons and phoenixes, it was made during the Xuande era (1426-1435). The imperial workshops in the Ming era were overseen by a eunuch bureau. (See closeup for detail)
Map of East Asia by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci in 1602; Ricci (1552-1610) was the first European allowed into the Forbidden City, taught the Chinese how to construct and play the spinet, translated Chinese texts into Latin and vice versa, and worked closely with his Chinese associate Xu Guangqi (1562-1633) on mathematical work.