October 21, 2019, marks the 691st birthday of Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of China’s Ming Dynasty. He was born (on what corresponds to Oct. 21 on our modern calendar) in 1328, founded the Ming Dynasty in 1368, and died in 1398.
To be more specific, he was born in an Earth Dragon year on the 18th day of the 9th month of the 1st year of the Tianli 天曆 reign of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty’s Wenzong 元文宗 Emperor Tugh Temur.
The youngest son in a large family, the Ming founder grew up in northern Anhui Province. His own writings describe his parents as hard-working peasants who “endured the hardships of agriculture, working day and night, always worrying.”
His family background and unlikely rise from goat herder to Buddhist monk to Red Turban rebel is the subject of the first volume in my historical fiction series on the Ming founding. “The Lacquered Talisman” is available through the Hong Kong-based Earnshaw Books publishing house.