A capital city home to millions. A melting pot of ideas and influences.
But this isn’t London in 2014. This is Beijing in 1425. 15th-century China comes alive at the British Museum’s stunning Ming exhibition. Here are five facts about the Ming Dynasty:
1) The capital city of China was moved from Nanjing to Beijing during the Ming reign. In order to accommodate both the extended imperial family and governmental offices, Hongwu’s son, Yongle, built “Zjijin Cheng” – the Purple Forbidden City. The colour purple was a reference to the night sky and its purplish constellation with the North Star, and his hope was to have his new capital city as a navigational star on Earth.
2) China was an extremely powerful nation during the Ming Dynasty. Her navy sailed all the way to India, Arabia and East Africa. According to a book “1421, the year China discovered the World”, with the all knowledge they gathered they managed to circumnavigate the globe and reach America seventy years before Columbus and Australia three hundred and fifty years before Cook.
3) The first encyclopaedia in the world was written during the Ming Dynasty and covered various subjects such as art, astronomy, history, religion, medicine, agriculture and technology. The encyclopaedia is known as the Yongle Encyclopaedia.
4) One of the landmarks are the Ming Dynasty Tombs in Beijing, a memorial site where 13 emperors and 23 empresses were buried. The tombs were built in accordance with Feng Shui and they are a UNESCO world heritage site. Unfortunately only The Sacred Way, Changling Tomb, Zhaoling Tomb and Dingling Tomb are open to the public.
5) Ming means ‘brightness’ and the name was chosen by the founder, Hongwu, to contrast with the dark age China was coming out of.
The exhibition runs from until 5 January 2015. Enter ‘CHMing’ on checkout or quote ‘CHMing’ by phone. Offer subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Offer available on-line and by phone 020 7323 8181. China Holidays travellers get 25% off tickets.