|Ceramics of the Late Ming Period
A change from delicate shapes and elegant designs to larger, bolder forms and new decorative motifs distinguishes Chinese ceramics produced from the late 15th through the mid-17th century. This reflects both the lessening of imperial control during this time and the development of new domestic and foreign markets that was a response to this loss of imperial patronage. Imperial ceramics were produced during the reigns of the Hongzhi (1488-1505), Zhengde (1506-1521), Jiajing (1522-1566), Longquing (1567-1572), and Wanli (1573-1620) emperors. By the end of the reign of the Wanli emperor, however, the production of imperial ceramics was officially halted, largely because money had to be raised to cover the expense of resisting the Manchu armies, who would eventually conquer all of China. Imperial patronage did not resume again until 1683, when China was under the rule of the Manchu Qing dynasty.