Due to the extraordinary achievement and similar styles of arts in Yongle and Xuande Periods, the two stages are combined and considered together by later generations. However, in terms of politics, society and economy, the reign of Emperor Yongle (1403-1424) is undoubtedly the more glorious, when the frontline during campaign against the Manchu was advanced to the estuary of Amur River. The unique military accomplishment of Emperor Yongle also included the annexion of Vietnam, winning in Mobei five times, and sending the fleet to westward voyage. His decisions on compilation of The Yongle Canon , the authorization of Neo-Confucianism as the orthodoxy and the transfer of capital city to Beijing are all extraordinary.
These influential moves embody the distinct expansionism during Yongle Period, especially on political pursuit. Apparently, Zhu Di (Emperor Yongle) was not satisfied in being the faithful successor of his father Emperor Hongwu. Instead, he wanted to be the second Kublai Khan, a Universal Ruler and an emperor beyond certain culture and ethnic group.
Emperor Yongle realized his grandiose ambition to a great extent. According to "History of Ming Dynasty, Biographic Sketch of Emperor Yongle," approximately thirty countries were under the control of Ming. The territory far exceeded the size under Han and Tang dynasties. However, the stage of expansion ended with the death of Emperor Yongle. His successor, Emperor Xuande restored Taizu's political legacy and the national policy was resumed as a decline of the country. During this period, culture and art were prosperous.
This special exhibition will display fifteen historical relics, all collections of Long Museum, including one Thangka, four buddha figures, nine porcelain pieces and one set of handwriting of the Buddhist Sutra by Zheng He. The aim is to briefly give a sample of the imperial magnificence Yongle and Xuande Periods through these few splendid relics.