The Ming dynasty followed the Yuan dynasty in China, returning rule to native Chinese from the foreign Mongols.
The first law instituted by Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor in this dynasty, was the outlaw of White Lotus Societies, in a somewhat paranoid effort to ensure he would maintain control of China during his reign.
During this time, orthodoxy of religion was especially monitored and even enforced by law; any drifting from orthodoxy was treated as witchcraft. Also in the Ming dynasty, the three religions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism were blurred into one religion combining Confucianist filial piety, Daoist magic, and Buddhist compassion. To do this, stories were created that presented these "three sages" as having been related in some way, such as through friendship, brotherhood, or reincarnation. This new religion emphasized that Buddhism cannot stand without Confucist ethics and the Dao.
The Ming dynasty ended with power struggles among the leadership, culminating in a loss of the empire to the Manchus, who took over China in 1644 and established the Qing dynasty.