What were the characteristics of the Ming culture?
The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) was founded by Zhu Yuangzhang a Buddhist monk. Originally a leader of peasant rebels he eventually reconquered much of China and what is now known as Northern Vietnam (Annam/安南).
Under his rule, he revived the examination system. Once again, the scholars were appointed to the highest posts within the Imperial government. Advancement was given by merit.
Over the decades arts and literature prospered. The economy grew stronger and nationalism was growing. They felt there was no need for foreign goods in the Middle Kingdom. By the early 1430s, that growing nationalism was a key factor into stopping expeditions to explore other parts of the world.