Territorially, the Tang Empire ranks among the largest in Chinese history
Because of the Grand Canal and other government projects for shipping grain and other goods, the Tang Dynasty had the strongest economy of the time period. Even in its decline, Tang exports far outnumbered imports from South Asia, West Asia, Europe and Africa combined.
Song Confucian tradition differed from previous dynasties
United Metaphysical aspects of Buddhism and Daoism with the pragmatic Confucian approach to society.
Incorporated Buddhist writings that also dealt with issues such as nature of the soul, an individuals place in the cosmos, and other issues.
Illustrates deep influence of Buddhism
Shaped Korea, Vietnam, and Japan
The Neo-Confucians saw Buddhism as a threat to the social and political order as well as a threat to their ( scholar-gentry) authority.
Buddhism, with its emphasis on egalitarianism and finding one’s own way to one’s own salvation was deemed a threat to the authority of the state and a disruption of the social order that developed under traditional Confucianism.
In order to show the importance that Confucianism would have in the Song Dynasty, the government began an expensive and massive project to restore Confucian temples around the empire. This is more astounding when one remembers that the maintaining of temples was the responsibility of the local population.
An imperial Confucius Temple in modern Hangzhou The government began an expensive and massive project to restore Confucian temples around the empire – was the responsibility of local population.
The most influential of these philosophers, whose synthesis of Confucian thought and Buddhist, Taoist, and other ideas became the official imperial ideology from late Song times to the late nineteenth century.
As incorporated into the examination system, Zhu Xi's philosophy evolved into a rigid official creed, which stressed the one-sided obligations of obedience and compliance of subject to ruler, child to father, wife to husband, and younger brother to elder brother.
The effect was to inhibit the societal development of premodern China, resulting both in many generations of political, social, and spiritual stability and in a slowness of cultural and institutional change up to the nineteenth century.
Like previous dynasties, the Song wanted the best people possible for government positions. They continued and revamped the traditional exam system. They made the recruiting system more egalitarian so they could attract the best and brightest from all segments of the population.
The three levels were:
the prefectural examination
"department" or metropolitan examination
The basic unit of payment was copper coins strung on a string, but these were heavy and cumbersome for use in large-scale transactions. The Song solution was to print paper money
Rural markets, as well as cities and towns, facilitated the exchange of goods and services. Some of the products on sale in this city depicted in the scroll would have come from nearby farms, but others came from far away.
International maritime trade also flourished during this time. Quanzhou in the Fujian region became a major center of trade with Southeast and South Asia, as well as with Korea and Japan .
Made refinements in the ideal of the universal man
combined the qualities of scholar, poet, painter, and statesman
Song intellectuals sought answers to all philosophical and political questions in the Confucian Classics.
This renewed interest in the Confucianism coincided with the decline of Buddhism
Seen as offering few practical guidelines for the solution of political and other mundane problems.
Footbinding is a tradition that evolved in the concept of "ideal image" including beauty, marriage and sex. It was considered charming, showed a sense of class, and was the symbol of chastity in most Chinese cultures. It was believed to promote health and fertility, although in the reality the tradition was painful and virtually crippling. It was a way to keep women in seclusion, which made them more dependent on others and less useful around the house. Footbinding
The most popular and stylish type of foot binding shoes were known as "golden lotus“ or "lotus shoes". The term "golden lotus" emerged in the southern Tang dynasty around 920 AD where the emperor Li Yu ordered his favorite concubine, Fragrant Girl, to bind her feet with silk bands and dance on a golden lotus platform decorated with pearls and gems. Also this term is a synonym for bound feet. Most lotus shoes were beautifully embroidered and about three inches long ("lotus shoes"). The lotus shoes are known to be lovely and alluring to the male population in China. Footbinding
When asked about the purpose of footbinding the overwhelming majority of women responded very plainly that without bound feet it was impossible to find a husband. A normal footed woman was commonly viewed as a freak of nature, and with unbound feet her pain overflowed into not 1,000, but 5,000 buckets of tears. She was considered lewd and unrefined, often subject to mockery and the brunt of village ridicule. At times in certain areas such women were so rare and unbelievable they were thought to exist only in myth. Women of the upper classes could never have imagined finding a husband of equal status without binding their feet, and if a normal footed woman of a lower class could not find a suitable mate among her economic peers, she could hope for no more than to be sold into slavery or service to those who did bind. "If a girls’ feet are not bound, they go here and there with unfitting associates" stated a 17 th century writer. The women of the wealthy villages are more involved with footbinding than the poor. It began in the late Tang Dynasty (618-906) and gradually spread through the upper class during the Song Dynasty (960-1297). It lasted approximately one thousand years. Footbinding
New developments in rice cultivation, especially the introduction of new strains from what is now Central Vietnam, spectacularly increased rice yields.
As a result the population, which had never before exceeded 60 million, grew to 100 million by 1127. Led to Urbanization.
Shaped Korea, Vietnam, and Japan
Footbinding is a tradition that evolved in the concept of "ideal image" including beauty. It was considered charming, showed a sense of class, and was the symbol of chastity in most Chinese cultures. It was believed to promote health and fertility, although in the reality the tradition was painful and virtually crippling. It was a way to keep women in seclusion, which made them more dependent on others and less useful around the house.
An imperial Confucius Temple in modern Hangzhou The government began an expensive and massive project to restore Confucian temples around the empire – was responsibility of local population.