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Reunification and Renaissance in China: Tang and Song Dynasties

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1 Reunification and Renaissance in China: Tang and Song Dynasties

2 Introduction Tang and Song dynasties ruled from the 7th-13th centuries! In which time Chinese society advanced in literally ALL areas of human endeavors! It was the largest empire on the earth (during those times) in population and territory! Chinese great cities were a striking example of these amazing accomplishments: Hangzhou Many things to do in these urban areas like go to the large markets, parks, go boating, go to nice restaurants, see live entertainments, bath houses, tea houses, opera, and even view paintings! Marco Polo “ the most noble city and the best that is in the world” Hangzhou

3 Hangzhou


5 Sui-Tang Era Sui dynasty rose up in 580’s after collapse of Han and chaotic times of invasion. Regional kingdoms appeared. The Sui dyansty was created out of the Northern Zhou kingdom. By 577 the Northern Zhou had conquered the Northern Qi kingdom to make a very large empire. (pg 258) Wendi (Yang Jian) was an official and relative of the royal family and struck a marriage alliance between his daughter and the ruler of the northern Zhou empire. Wendi’s daughter became an empress (1 of 5). She had a son. When the emperor died unexpectedly Wendi’s grandson became the emperor. He was only about six and required a regent. Wendi served as regent (after all he ran the court and administrative affairs of the kingdom during the emperor’s life). He was the regent with another man (a commander). The commander tried to seize power and Wendi beat him. After this Wendi then seized the throne and proclaimed himself emperor.

6 Wendi and Sui Dynasty He secured his position by winning the favor of neighboring nomadic military commanders. He reconfirmed their titles and showed little desire to favor the Confucian scholar-gentry at their expense! Wendi then extended his empire across north China by 589. Then, they conquered the weak Chen kingdom (to the south). He created a large empire Wendi reunited the core areas of China which hadn’t been united in a few centuries!!! Wendi won support from the people by: Lowering taxes Establishing granaries (to keep surplus of grain)

7 Sui Collapse Wendi’s son, Yangdi, took the throne and strengthened his father’s goals. However, he did kill his father to reach the throne. Yangdi extended the empire, drove back nomadic intruders Created a milder legal code and devoted resources to upgrading Confucian education (for the bureaucracy) and restored the civil service exam These policies were for the scholar-gentry and at the expense of the aristocratic families and nomadic military commanders Yangdi also like luxury! He forcibly conscripted hundred of thousands of peasants to build canals, palaces, and a new capital, Loyang. He demanded much of the people! He also led a series of unsuccessful wars: Korean campaigns Turkish nomads in 615 Because of demands and war people began to revolt and parts of the empire declared themselves independent. There were even bandit gangs and invaders to boot! In 618 Yangdi was assassinated by his own ministers!

8 Yangdi

9 Tang Dynasty Imperial disorder was avoided after the assassination of Yangdi by one of his savvy officials, Li Yuan, the Duke of Tang He was a loyal supporter of Yangdi until he started to become irrational and problems started spreading throughout the empire Li Yuan was convinced by his sons and allies that only rebellion could save the empire. Yangdi was assassinated in 618 In 623 Li Yuan became the emperor and victor from the struggle for the throne. In 626 he abdicated the throne in favor of his second son, Tang Taizong. Thus led to the golden age of the Tang Tang armies conquered deep into central Asia to Afghanistan, they repaired the Great Wall, and created frontier armies! They recruited Turkic nomadic people for their frontier forces. They were able to keep the Turkish people loyal by taking the sons of their tribal leaders. They were sent to the capital and were educated in Chinese ways to hopefully help assimilate them!

10 Tang Map

11 Tang Dynasty Empire incorporated Tibet, Vietnam, Manchuria, and a vassal kingdom (Silla) in Korea by 668 Tang established a larger empire than that of the Han and even larger than present day China! Government: Continued to revive the scholarly gentry and Confucian bureaucrats Under the Tang the scholar-gentry offset the powers of the aristocracy From the Tang era onward, the political power in China was shared by a succession of imperial families and the bureaucrats of the civil service system The scholar-gentry class staffed most of the posts the secretariats and executive departments that oversaw a huge bureaucracy Imperial palace to subprefecture (or county level) One secretariat drafted royal decrees and the other looked at regional reports The executive department was split into 6 ministers: including war, justice, and public works. Bureau of Censor that kept track of all officials at all levels to ensure they were doing their jobs. Large staff to support imperial household in Changan (new capital).

12 Tang and civil service Tang and Song emperors patronized academies to train state officials and educate them in the Confucian classics (moral and organizational ethics) Far more scholars during the Tang and Song than during the Han Had to take civil service exam to pass. Ministry of Rites administered tests along with the hardest tests (philosophical or legal classics and Chinese literature). If passed the hardest test you got the title, jinshi. Success meant different dress and social status However birth and connection got most bureaucrats their positions even if they failed! A few families dominated and passed post from father to son Members of the old aristocracy and low-ranking sons of less wives and concubines also became bureaucrats Many Buddhists and Buddhism was patronized for the early part of the Tang dyansty

13 Lungmen-Buddha

14 State and Religion (Tang and Song)
After the Han collapse many people including the aristocracy had become Buddhists during this time of chaos Mahayana Buddhism spread b/c it provided a refuge from a time of war and conflict Chen or Zen Buddhism spread in the elites b/c it provided a focus on meditation and appreciation of natural and artistic beauty. The goal of Buddhism was to know the ultimate wisdom and find release from the cycle of rebirth through meditation! By the time of the Tang, Buddhism was a major religion and force at all levels of society Tang rulers patronized Buddhism while promoting education in the Confucian classics. Tang Empress Wu was known for her great support for Buddhism. She is the only woman that ruled China! She was a concubine (13) that became an empress. According to legend, Wu was the concubine for the emperor. Upon the death of the emperor, Wu was supposedly was sent to a monastery and became a nun because she had no sons. Then the son who was now the new emperor came to make an offering and saw the beautiful Wu. His empress decided to have Wu come to the palace to distract her husband from a rival female. She became a powerful concubine again eventually becoming Empress. She got the attention of the emperor and then framed the empress by claiming that she had killed their daughter. Eventually she had the empress killed as well as the other rival. It was said she had their bones broken in their arms and legs and then had them put into wine vats to die!

15 Empress Wu

16 Anti-Buddhist Backlash
Buddhism had mixed with local ideas to manifest into its own form of Chinese Buddhism. However, Confucian and Dao leaders were worried over so many followers of the faith! Confucian scholar bureaucrats said that Buddhism was an economic challenge to imperial order b/c Buddhist monastic lands and their resources were not taxes and the peasants on these lands could not be conscripted. Under Emperor Wuzong ( ) Buddhists became persecuted. Monasteries and shrines were destroyed! Monks, nuns, and peasants had to return to civilian lives. Buddhism survived in China but was never again the political force it was under the early Tang. Confucian and Dao took back over

17 Tang decline and Song Rise
Weakening imperial power under controversy of Empress Wu and Empress Wei (who poisoned her husband, the son of Empress Wu and put her small child on the throne). Another prince led a revolt in the palace against her and won. He became emperor Xuanzong High point in Tang dynasty under his rule for a time! He was a great leader in the beginning but then he stopped focusing on ruling and began to be obsessed with courtly life and pleasure. He greatly enjoyed playing music and it was said he had 1000 concubines! Xuanzong became infatuated with a beautiful young women, Yang Guifei, after the death of his second wife. She was in the harem of one of the imperial princes. Xuanzong began giving her flute lessons and her status grew. She used her new position to get her greedy relatives access to the upper level of government. She was arrogant and excessive. Xuanzong neglected the state affairs which resulted in disaster. In 755 a revolt broke out which the Tang crushed. However the Tang troops mutinied and killed several Yang family members and forced the emperor to kill Yang Guifei. He did, but never quite recovered. Later rulers Tang rulers were weak. Nomadic peoples living on the borders gained powers and took over portions of northern China. The local governors became independent rulers in their own!

18 Emperor Xuanzong

19 Tang to Song Tang couldn’t control the vast empire. In 751 Arab armies defeated the Chinese on China’s western frontier at the Battle of Talas! In 907 Chinese rebels sacked and burned the Tang capital at Changan and murdered the last emperor, a child Rival warlord divided China into several kingdoms In 960 an able general reunited China and proclaimed himself Song Taizu, the first Song (sung) emperor. The Song dynasty lasted from ( ). Song armies didn’t regain western lands lost in 751 nor did they regain northern lands. The northern Liao dynasty founded in 907 by the nomadic Khitan peoples in Manchuria made the Song sign treaties that committed them to paying heavy tribute in silver, silk, and tea to keep from invading. Song empire was much smaller than Tang

20 Song Map

21 Song Politics Song remained weak due to their imperial policies at subordinating the military. They didn’t want any military commander to try to seize power so they made the military subordinate to civilian officials, no military leaders could be governors, and rotated their station to prevent them from building up personal power bases. Promoted the interests of Confucian scholar-gentry. Many passed the exams and they became better paid. The bureaucracy became bloating with well-paid officials who had little to do! Focus on Confucian scholarship, neo-Confucian movement: By book learning, observation, and contact with wise men good nature could be cultivated. They were hostile to foreign philosophical systems, especially Buddhism. This made the Chinese ruler and bureaucrats less open to outside influences! Zhu Xi-philosopher Know your role!and accept it! This created harmony.

22 Decline How the Song handled the northern nomadic people, Khitan Kingdom of Liao 11th century Tangut tribes from Tibet formed the Xi Xia kingdom to the southwest of the kingdom of Liao The tribute paid drained the people and the army rose to about 1 million The emphasis on civil administration and growing dislike for the army created problems Funds for the military went to scholarly pursuits and entertainments! In 1070 Wang Anshi tried to reform the problems within the Song administration. He created well-trained mercenaries, promoted agricultural expansion, taxed the scholars, reorganized university education based on analysis and not memorization. When the emperor Wang Anshi work with, Shenzong, died in 1085 the reforms died and were reversed by neo-Confucians. As a result economic conditions fell and peasant unrest grew! In 1115 the Jurchens conquered the Khitans and established the Jin kingdom. They soon conquered the northern Song empire. Southern Song ( ) was quite small and brief, but of immense cultural importance

23 Tang and Song Prosperity
Sui emperors built canals which the Tang rulers continued building. Great Canal built by Yangdi helped facilitate trade, communication, and tax collection. It is 1200 miles long! Over time the southern provinces became the most fertile for crop production and population! Due to canals and conquests trade expanded! Trade routes between Persia and China (Silk Roads) reopened which intensified international contacts during the postclassical period Chinese junks were the best ships in the world along with Arab dhow! They dominated Asian seas Had great markets where good all the way from the Mediterranean were sold and guilds to regulate competition Established banks and bank notes or credit vouchers to help against robbery. (called flying money) 11th century began to issue paper money! Populations grew and urban cities grew-largest in the entire world!

24 Chinese junks                                                 

25 Expanding Farming Rulers of Tang and Song promoted expansion of farmland south Supported by military garrisons in these areas to protect the new settlements Irrigation and embankment systems helped to advance farming (like the great canals) Introduced new and better seeds (from Vietnam a new variety of fast-ripening rice which allowed for 2 harvest a year instead of one) and innovations such as the wheelbarrow Sui and Tang rulers broke up large estates of the aristocracy and distributed land more equally among peasants! This also took power from aristocracy.

26 Canal System

27 Family and Society (Tang and Song)
Family organization similar to earlier times Position of women improved (elite) Patriarchy dominated and male hierarchy occurred in households (extended family) Authority of elders (laws-a child could be beheaded for striking their parents or grandparents and if done to an older sibling they could get 2 ½ years of hard labor) Matchmakers became common and would match a groom and bride and settle dowry issues. Ages matched up according to Confucian beliefs Some women gained power, most likely just the elite. Empress Wu and Wei are great examples. Law allowed for divorce if both parties agreed, a husband couldn’t set aside his wife if her parents were dead or if he had been poor when they met and now was rich. Also some elite women took on complementary husbands or young lovers with their husbands knowledge.

28 Neo-Confucian Dominance
In general the condition for women during this time in China got worse. Neo-Confucian scholars gained more power and espoused their belief in male-domination. Her role was as a homemaker and mother (she had to have sons!) They advocating confining women, emphasized the importance of virginity, and chastity of widows, and fidelity of wives. They discouraged widows from remarrying like in India. Men were permitted to have premarital sex without scandal, to take concubines if they could afford them, and to remarry if one of their wives died. Neo-Confucians attack Buddhists for promoting alternatives for women like scholarship and the monastic life at the expense of marriage and family Created laws that favored male inheritance, divorce, and familial interaction, excluded women from education of civil service

29 Footbinding Equal to veil and seclusion of Islam was footbinding of China. Late Song upper class men preferred women with tiny feet. So to enhance a woman’s marriage contract mothers began to bind the feet of their daughters as early as 5 or 6 years. The toes were turned under and bound with silk. The silk was bound more tightly as she grew. By the time she reached marriageable age her foot had been transformed into the “lotus petal” or “golden lily”. Bound feet were a constant source of pain for the women for her entire life and limited her mobility. It was difficult to take even a few steps. Women with bound feet were crippled for life. To other in society such a women reflected the wealth and prestige of her husband who could afford such a beautiful and impractical wife. This was considered unbelievably beautiful and was not to be revealed except to her husband. So looking at pictures is helpful, but should be respected! If you feel that you cannot be respectful then please don’t look Video

30 Footbinding

31 Confucian Fingernails
In addition to footbinding to mark their separation from the working classes many scholar-officials eventually adopted the fashion of growing their fingernails long. A two-inch fingernail showed clearly that the owner did no manual labor. However, long nails did not prevent the scholars from following the pursuits of the gentry, such as writing poetry, painting, or practicing calligraphy.

32 Okay…they were not this long
Okay…they were not this long! They were kept about 2 inches long just to show their status. Today people grow their fingernails long to win records!!!

33 Invention Banks, paper money, engineering feats like the great canal and irrigation, fireworks, gunpowder, grenades and bombs, flamethrowers, poisonous gas, rocket launchers, chairs, tea, kites, abacus, compass, printing, moveable type (Bi Sheng) Mechanical Clock Printing Gun Powder Paper Money Magnetic Compass

34 Artistic Accomplishments
Reinvigoration of scholar-gentry elite responsible for much literary and artistic creativity Buddhist art and architecture patronized by courts Confucian thinkers became more valued and they were skillful writers. They were to be good at many things including art and literature. A well-educated man would work for the government and come home to paint, play music, or write poetry. The most famous poet of the Tang era was Li Bo Amateurs wrote and painted some of the best work of the time!


36 World Role Post classical period vital to the consolidation of Chinese civilization and culture Technology and innovation! Trade and economic growth and contacts with others Economy one of the most advanced in the world with much overseas trade, much production, and sophisticated products, and luxury goods like silk and ceramics. Inventions of paper, printing, ad gunpowder changed the course of human development!!! Song rulers managed to survive the assaults of the northern nomads, but not for long…soon the Mongols would be looking to expand!

37 Timeline 220 End of Han Dynasty
Era of political division and invasion, Buddhism grew much. Regional kingdoms developed Sui Dynasty: Wendi / Yangdi, great canal and farming projects Gaozu emperor (Li Yuan) Tang Dynasty Tang Taizong emperor (Li Yuan son) 688 Korean conquest (vassal of Silla) Empress Wu (only Chinese female ruler Xuanzong Emperor 840’s Period of Buddhist persecution 907 End of Tang Dynasty Song Dynasty / Neo-Confucian revival 1050 Invention of block printing with moveable type by Bi Sheng Shenzong Emperor reform of Wang Anshi 1100 Invention of gunpowder 1115 Jurchen kingdom 1119 first reference to the compass Southern Song dynasty Mongol (Yuan) dynasty rules China

38 Works Cited Emperor Wendi’s pic:

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