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Reunification and Renaissance in China

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Presentation on theme: "Reunification and Renaissance in China"— Presentation transcript:

1 Reunification and Renaissance in China

2 Era of Division CE ·      New series of nomadic invasions and regional wars for imperial power ·      Bureaucratic apparatus disappeared ·      Buddhism eclipsed Confucian teachings ·      Great Wall divided between kingdoms usually poorly defended ·      Trade and city life declined, technology stagnated


4 Rise of the Sui 580s initial rise of the Sui dynasty
Wendi- marriage between his daughter and ruler of northern Zhou- then seized the throne of his son-in-law and took won support of nomadic military commanders Extended the empire across northern China and in 589 conquered the Chen kingdom Won widespread support by lowering taxes, establishing granaries

5 Sui Excesses and Collapse
·      Wendi’s son Yangdi (who murdered his father to reach the throne) extended conquests and drove back invaders ·      Legal and educational reforms promoted the scholar-gentry but at the expense of great aristocratic families and military commanders ·      Yangdi’s extravagant lifestyle and use of subjects as labor ·      Korea campaign- failed ·      Soon widespread revolts across empire ·      618- Yangdi assassinated by one of his own ministers

6 The emergence of the Tang and the Restoration of the Empire
·     Li Yuan, Duke of Tang- one of Yangdi’s loyal officials ·      623 Li Yuan emerged victorious after five-year struggle after Yangdi’s death ·      Conquered deep into central Asia- this meant that nomadic invaders had to submit to Tang rule ·      Created frontier armies (from Turkic peoples- sent sons to live in the cities) ·      Extended further into parts of Vietnam and Korea- they built an empire bigger than the boundaries of modern-day China

7 Rebuilding the Bureaucracy
·      Increase in power of scholar-gentry- decrease in power of aristocratic families so from the Tang-era onward political power in China shared by imperial families and the bureaucrats of the civil service system ·      Changan- new capital ·      Bureaucracy reached county levels

8 The Growing Importance of the Examination System
·      Patronized academies to train state officials and educate them in Confucian classics, which were thought to teach moral and organizational principles- Ministry of Rites administered the examinations ·      Jinshi- those who passed exams on the philosophical and legal classics and Chinese literature ·      Birth and family position still very important- upper levels of power still dominated by aristocracy- fathers to sons

9 State Religion in the Tang-Song Era
·      Increasing state patronage for Confucian learning threatened old aristocratic families and Buddhist monastic orders ·      Buddhism proliferated in China after the fall of the Han. Masses adopted pure land strain of Mahayana Buddhism which provided refuge from turmoil and war, while elite attracted to Zen Buddhism with its stress on meditation and natural beauty- goal to escape cycle of rebirth ·      Early Tang rulers patronized Buddhism while promoting Confucian classics studies ·      Empress Wu (Tang ruler from CE) supported Buddhist establishment heavily- even tried to elevate it to a state religion

10 Anti-Buddhist Backlash
·      Daoist monks tried to counter Buddhism by stressing their own magical and predictive powers ·      Confucian scholar-administrators- campaign against Buddhist monastic lands because they weren’t taxed- this was most damaging ·      By mid-8th century state fears of Buddhist wealth and power led to measures to limit the flow of land and resources to the monastic orders. Emperor Wuzong (r ) open persecution of Buddhists ·      Confucianism emerged again as the central ideology of Chinese civilization for most of the period from the 9th- 20th century ·      Buddhism had opposite experience in mainland southeast Asia, Tibet, and parts of Central Asia

11 Tang Decline and the Rise of the Song
·  After Empress Wu, Empress Wei tried to control the country and placed her child on the throne but her attempt was thwarted by a prince who became emperor Xuanzong (r. 713 – 756) marked the peak of the Tang power and the high point of Chinese civilization under the dynasty ·      Xuanzong started out strong but then became disinterested and the empire waned- he became infatuated with Yang Guifei (a young woman from the harem of an imperial prince) after the death of his second wife- their romance famous for further weakening the empire. She became a royal concubine and moved her greedy relatives into power. Economic distress coupled with anger over the state affairs led to An Lushan leading a revolt in 755 with the intention of establishing a new Tang dynasty

12 ·      Revolt crushed but at a high cost - Tang had allied themselves with nomadic peoples in the north, delegated resources and political power to regional commanders who remained loyal to the dynasty. Nomads took advantage of the situation. Regional powers began acting independently. Succession of revolts in the 9th century. 907 last emperor of Tang dynasty forced to resign

13 The Founding of the Song Dynasty
·      960- military commander Zhao Kuangyin emerged to reunite China under single dynasty (educated man) He was renamed emperor Taizu and founded Song dynasty Routed out all rivals except one- northern Liao dynasty which had been founded in 907 by the nomadic Khitan peoples from Manchuria- plagued the dynasty- in 1004 Song forced to pay tribute to keep it from raiding the Song domains


15 Song Politics: Settling for Partial Restoration
·      Song never matched Tang in political or military strength. Military subordinate to civilian administrators. Military commanders rotated to keep them from building up a base Strong promotion of Confucian scholar-gentry. Routinized civil service exams. Bureaucracy bloated with well-paid officials with nothing to do

16 The Revival of Confucian Thought
·      Revival of Confucian thought dominated intellectual life. Study of classical texts. New schools of philosophy ·      Zhu Xi- prominent thinker who stressed the importance of applying philosophical principles to everyday life and action (neo-Confucians)- cultivating personal morality the highest goal- hostility to outside influence- eventually stifled innovation and critical thinking of the elite. Emphasis on rank, obligation, deference. Importance of upholding the patriarch in Chinese household.

17 Roots of Decline: Attempts at Reform
·      Mid-11th century Tangut tribes (originally from Tibet) had established a kingdom Xi Xia. Song had to pay tribute and this drained resources from the empire. ·      Cost of army to ward off invaders burdensome (but size of army much greater than counterparts in Japan and western Europe). Emphasis on scholar-gentry meant no good military commanders ·      1070s and 1080s Wang Anshi (a chief minister of the Song Shenzong emperor) tried to ward off impending collapse by introducing reforms but his reforms depended on support from the Shenzong emperor but he died in 1085 and Anshi lost support

18 Reaction and Disaster: The Flight to the South
·      Economic conditions worsened and peasant unrest increased ·      1115 nomadic contender the Jurchens overthrew the Liao dynasty of the Khitans and established the Jin kingdom. Soon the Jin annexed most of the Yellow River basin and forced the Song to flee south ·      Song capital transferred to Hangzhou- Southern Song dynasty ( ). Politically nothing much but culturally one of the most glorious in history.

19 Golden Age of Prosperity
·      Grand Canal-constructed by Yangdi and nearly 1200 miles long- ran North to South and linked north China plain to Yangtze river basin. This made south become major food-producing area of the empire ·      Commerical expansion- Tang control of Central Asia reopened the silk roads; China mainly exporting manufactured goods and imported luxury goods, such as aromatic woods and spices. Chinese junks the best ships in the world at the time (along with the Arab dhows). Banks, money, guilds

20 City and Rural Growth ·      The World's Most Splendid Cities - Changan- nearly 2 million inhabitants and the largest in the world. Roughly 10 percent of pop. living in urban cities. Hangzhou- size, beauty, sophistication ·      Expanding Agrarian Production and Life in the Country- state-regulated irrigation systems and settlement of unsettled areas; improved methods increased yield of peasant production; policies aimed at breaking the great estates of the old aristocracy

21 Family Life ·      family organization largely resembled old family organization; male-dominated hierarchy promoted by Confucianism; women subordinate but some elite women had access to power and divorce was allowed as were "complementary husbands"

22 Gender Relations Neo-Confucian Assertion of Male Dominance - overall condition of women worsened, neo-Confucian thinkers stressed female role as homemaker and mother and bearer of sons, advocated confining women; in contrast, men were out and about; footbinding- late Song era- lower class slower to adopt practice because needed mobile women as workers

23 Invention and Creativity
- technological advances- grand canal, dikes, dams, bridges, explosive powder; domestically- chairs, tea drinking across empire, coal; others- compass for navigation, moveable type by Bi Sheng, high level of literacy, abacus

24 Scholarly Achievement
·      Scholarly Refinement and Artistic Accomplishment - generalists not specialists; Tang best remembered for its Confucian teachers and scholar-administrators; Heavy focus in literature on common life; Li Bo most famous poet of Tang era; Song era- intense interest in nature in art

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