“Yongle Encyclopedia” was a massive collation of excerpts and works from the mass of Chinese society, culture and knowledge, designed to include all that had ever been written on the Chinese canon, history, philosophy and the arts and sciences. 2,000 scholars worked on the project, incorporating 8,000 texts from ancient times up to the early Ming Dynasty. They covered an array of subjects, including agriculture, art, astronomy, drama, geology, history, literature, medicine, natural sciences, religion, and technology, as well as descriptions of unusual natural events. The encyclopedia, which was completed in 1408 at Nanjing Guozijian (Imperial University in Nanjing), comprised 22,937 manuscript rolls or chapters, in 11,095 volumes occupying roughly 40 cubic meters (1400 ft³) and using 3.7 billion Chinese characters.
Another great cultural development of the Ming Dynasty was novels. These novels developed from the writings of Chinese storytellers. As a result, they were written in spoken language, not the language of the nobility. Also, they were divided into chapters at the points where the storyteller would have stopped to collect money. Some of the best known novels of the Ming Dynasty are still read today.