China's Ming and Early Qing Dynasties
The imperial examination system was used by the Ming and the subsequent Qing dynasty to recruit officials. With the expulsion of the Mongols in the mid-fourteenth century, the Chinese imperial tradition was reasserted by the Ming dynasty, founded in 1368. The Ming dynasty marked the high point of eunuch influence, a phenomenon deplored by Confucian scholars, who viewed eunuchs as vile usurpers because the latter did not rise to power through the examination system. The major advance of Ming literature was in long, popular novels and other stories of adventure and romance. To mark the resurgence of empire after the brief Mongol eclipse, the Ming court set up rituals and procedures for contact with foreign countries. Modern historians created the term "tributary system" as a way of describing the East Asian order dominated by the Chinese court, although it is clear that regional interaction was never limited to this framework.