This era was defined by the Ming Dynasty. This dynasty directly followed the Yuan (MONGOL) Dynasty, when a group called the Red Turbans began a rebellion against their Mongol rulers in the mid 1300s. The leader of the rebellion and the following Ming Dynasty was Zhu Yuanzhang.
The Ming ruled from the Forbidden City, never interacted with peasants, and are most famous for the formation of the Great Wall of China. Clearly, this isolationist theme is the result of the previous rulers of China. They encouraged education and approved of Confucianism. By the end of this Dynasty, population had nearly doubled and the economy had grown as well.
The Ming were also known for the Examination System. There were 3 stages of this: Scholar-Gentry, Authority, and Ju-Ren. The Scholar-Gentry's were a sort of educated middle class and stimulated much of China's growth in this era.
The Manchu were gaining power in the North West, and Japan invaded Korea around this time. While the Ming repelled Japan from invading, their armies were weak, and their peasants were in revolt; the Manchus invaded.