During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when native Chinese rule was restored, court artists produced conservative images that revived the Song metaphor for the state as a well-ordered imperial garden, while the Yuan vision of the reclusive dwelling was perpetuated by Ming scholar-artists. By the sixteenth century, this educated class had grown so large that many talented scholars, unable to pursue a career in government service, became professional writers or painters, who were frequently called upon to create literary or pictorial portraits for a new class of wealthy landowners and merchants who sought to identify themselves with literati ideals. A common solution was to create idealized portraits that show the sitter within a garden setting.