China -- Sui, Tang, & Song Dynasties Sui 589-618 Tang 618-907 Song 960 -1279
BackgroundAfter the fall of the Han Empire (220 c.e.) Northern China was invaded by nomadic groups (who assimilated Chinese culture) No group in southern China was strong enough to control the entire region (30 dynasties in about 300 years claimed the Mandate of Heaven). For 350 years, regional rule was the political reality.
BackgroundBy 589, the first emperor of the Sui dynasty had forcefully reunited northern and southern China once again.The foundations for the Tang & Song Dynasties were laid.
China during theSui, Tang, & Song Dynasties Sui 589-618 Tang 618-907 Song 960 -1279
―A Golden Age‖China during the Tang and Song dynasties had . . .political stability (central gov)economic growth and changeintellectual & artistic achievement
Even though there were many changes, Chinese culture continued have many of its characteristics from earlier dynasties. Confucianism remained a foundation of society and culture (Daoism too). China’s cultural influence on its neighbors remained strong. Strong central government with a powerful emperor (Mandate of Heaven) & scholar-bureaucracy (examination system)
Written language was separate from spoken languages The social class structure remained relatively constant. Patriarchy remained strong for the majority of the female population (remember Ban Zhao?)
Interaction with nomads to the north (of the Great Wall) continued to influence the Chinese political, economic, cultural, and social structure.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHINA DURING THE SUI, TANG, and SONG DYNASTIES
Politics & Government The frontiers were stabilized & attempts at expansion were partially successful. Centralized government returned along with a bureaucracy of trained civil servants.
Agriculture in Tang & Song China Agricultural production improved & crop specialization (cheap transportation) intensified with improved infrastructure, iron implements, and printing. New crop –Champa rice Population Soared(50-60 million during TangDynasty-soared to 120 million
INDUSTRY & TRADEChina continued to be a main producer of . . . Silk (though monopoly was lost) Porcelain Metals The most urbanized area in the world
TRADE Regional trade improved due to improved infrastructure (canals) Indian Ocean trade increased with Tang control over coastal Southern China Silk Road trade increased-military garrisons along route
Finance Banking and Credit system (flying money) Government issued paper money. Growth of cities led to growth of industry, trade, and the empires’ economy Government demanded payment of taxes in cash, not in kind.
Social Classes (continuities) Landowners (landed gentry) were at the top of the social class system. Scholar-bureaucrats (scholar gentry) & military leaders were also in upper-class. Merchants and artisans could acquire a great deal of wealth - but were in the lower classes.
From Ning Lao Tai-tai ―A girls beauty and desirability were counted more by the size of her feet than by the beauty of her face. Matchmakers were not asked, Is she beautiful? but How small are her feet? A plain face is given by heaven but poorly bound feet are a sign of laziness.‖
Gender Roles Women’s status remained low (despite attempts at reform by several empresses). The Song Period saw women at a very low social status. Evidence: Seclusion, lack of property rights, polygamy and use of concubines, exclusion from education, &
Technology and Innovation First chain driven mechanism - the clock (1088) Gunpowder Paper production and block printing techniques were invented and then advanced—moveable type. Boat building and navigational technology was more advanced than the rest of the world.
Other Advancements included: Tang and Song China had some of the largest cities in the world. Song Chinese were the first to use fractions in computations and equations. Solar year was accurately measured Doctors in Song China compiled and printed medical texts
In terms of advancements, innovations, and knowledge, China benefited from centuries of Chinese scholarship and technology. Influences from other parts of the world (especially during the Tang period) also had a considerable effect.