The essays in this volume represent the fluorescence of the field of Ming studies over the past three decades since the seminal publication of the first Ming volume of The Cambridge History of China, which presented what is still the most comprehensive one-volume narrative history of the Ming dynasty in English. 1 Indeed, these contributions should be viewed as supplements and expansions of the work introduced there and in its companion volume a decade later, which added a collection of topical chapters on Ming government, institutions, thought, and the like. 2 In fact the authors in the present work were encouraged to submit essays on a range of topics that would build upon these earlier efforts and which might not have much coverage elsewhere with the organizing principle being to invoke the spirit of Ming miscellanies (zaji) or unofficial histories (yeshi). Indeed, many of the authors cite such primary sources in their contributions herein. Additionally, inspired by the Ming court culture conference in London that I had the good fortune to participate in during the autumn of 2014, this volume contains a wealth of interdisciplinary work from art historians, specialists in Ming literature and drama, and archaeological and cartographic insights in addition to contributions from more traditionally focused historians. 3