RECAP Great Wall – 221 BC; Spread of Buddhism Confucius believed a woman’s duty was to ensure the stability of the family and promote harmony in the home. Correct behavior=order and stability. Filial piety! And the Golden Rule! Legalism – the ruler alone possesses power, strenth, not goodness, is the rulers best virtue.
Han dynasty falls around 220, China is divided until the 600’s (but Chinese culture still flourishes, unlike the Western world!) Sui emerge around 580s, led by Wendi. Wendi re-establishes granaries to stabilize food supply and prices lowers taxes reunites the traditional core areas of Chinese civilization for the first time in 350ish years.
The Tang Dynasty Yangdi – murders Wendi (who is actually his dad!) He’s so demanding that his ministers kill him Turmoil? No. The Tang dynasty emerges in 618, with Li Yuan’s help. Li Yuan – works with his son, Li Shimin, (who encouraged him to lead a revolt) to crush all the rivals and revolts and establish the Tang dynasty. Play rivals off of each other Repair the Great Wall Li Shimin – within 8 years convinces dad to step down, takes the throne, and names himself “Tang Taizong” Tang Tiazong is a brilliant general, government reformer, historian, and becomes one of China’s most admired emperors.
More Tangs… Conquer territories in Central Asia “heavenly kahn” – vassal of Turkic Tribes Force Vietnam, Tibet, and Korea to become tributary states. Tributary states: vassals who recognize China’s supremacy and send tributes to the Tang emperor. Students from Korea and Japan travel to the Tang capital to learn about Chinese govt, law, and arts. “Middle Kingdom” – China is central to the world around them Tributary state envoys kowtow with their gifts before the empire Subordinate lands normally did as they pleased, more diplomatic, trade, and cultural exchange
Tang Reforms Restored Han System Civil Service System and Uniform Govt. Jinshi – immediate elevation of social status for individual his family Larger territory = increased demand for gov’t positions Scholar-gentry – help offset the pwr of land-holding aristocrats Now many more positions than during the Han era Land Reform – broke up large land holdings into pieces for the peasants. Equal field system – upon death, a farmer’s land was reallotted, only 1/5 remained under hereditary control Centralized power by removing power from large landowners Raised revenue by increasing number of people who would be taxed Grand Canal links Huang He to the Yangzi R. Longest waterway ever made by human labor at this point
Those Tang Arts… http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/history/video-popup-t Long sleeves http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/china/art/tang.htm Buddha, Buddha on the wall… Carved into rocky cliff sides, show tremendous stone cutting and metal working abilities Horses and Camels Focus of artists and sculptors From along the Silk Road Foreigners From all over central Asia – another main focus Literature Described foreign foods, music, customs, and polo (a aristocratic favorite from Persia)
Buddhism Xuanzang – Buddhist monk from China Travels to India c. 645 CE Brings back many Buddhist texts Forms many monasteries New sects emerge – including Chan (Zen) Focused on meditation to reach nirvana Monasteries and temples often have economic focus Operate mills and oil presses Perform banking services Owned a lot of land (and wealthy patrons would list their land as belonging to the monastery to avoid state taxes) Much temple wealth went to the arts
Anti-Buddhist Backlash Daoist and Confucians feel threatened State does too – Buddhist monastic establishment poses a fundamental economic challenge to imperial order Wuzong (841-847) lashes out Open persecution Thousands of monasteries and shrines destroyed Hundreds of thousands of monks and nuns flee/return to civilian lives Slaves and peasants of Buddhist lands are forced out to work the lands and are subject to taxation again Hatred doesn’t last, but the Buddhists definitely took a hit
Bye-bye Tang, Hello Song Tang dynasty weakens, corruption, drought, high taxes, famine, rebellions, etc; Tangs are overthrown in 907. 960 – three major states emerge The Liao Empire – Khitan people, Mongol relatives The Xi Xia (Tanggut) Empire – Minyak people, W China, had connections to the former Tang The Song Empire – 960 military commander Emperor Taizu reunites much of China (never quite as strong as the Tang Empire though)
The Song Empire Does unify China Run-ins with the Liao (Song pay tributes to protect themselves Jurchens destroy the Liao capital in Mongolia Proclaim Jin empire Continue exacting tribute from the Song, take portions of their land, force Song to relocate their capital from Kaifeng to Hangzhou Song dynasty – controls China for 316 (longer than Tang), but controls less land 960-1127 – “Northern Song” 1127-1279 – “Southern Song”
Political Developments The Tang fell because… regional military commanders became independent rulers who raised their own armies and collected their own taxes Song – make the military subordinate to the civil administrators of the scholar-gentry class Only civil officials can be governors Rotate military commanders from region to region Does it work? The Song’s have control, but their military is much weaker Scholar bureaucrats actually leading Song armies in the field sometimes (have hardly any military training)
Challenges with Bureaucracy Now for the district, provincial and imperial level Standards adjusted (increases pass rate) Growing bureaucracy = stressed imperial treasury Emperors try to raise taxes Peasants revolt More military needed to make peasants hush More imperial debt.
Industry and Production Papermaking Salt and Tea Deforestation, turn to other sources – coal! Master the ability to use coal to smelt iron, even develop steel Most advanced iron industry in the world Swords, armor, arrow tips, tools for farmers and craftsmen, stoves, nails, needles, chains for suspension bridges, drill bits to make wells Gunpowder Wooden blocks to print entire pages Begin working on moveable type systems
Song Golden Age Wealth and culture dominate; military does not. Great Canal – improves agriculture by creating a better irrigation system and increases trade dramatically (land travel was expensive and cumbersome) Agricultural surplus (improved irrigation system and new strains of rice from Vietnam = success). Rise in agricultural productivity allowed people more time to pursue commerce, learning, and the arts.
Trade and Commerce Trade flourishes (Song porcelain found in E. Africa!) Junks (Chinese ships) encourage trade Chinese actively trade, instead of waiting for traders to come to them Horses, Persian rugs, and tapestries enter China Silk, Paper, and porcelain leave China Reopen Silk Road China issues paper money
Hangzhou The most impressive city of its time By end of Song times, 1,500,000 population Famously wealthy, clean, and diverse 10 big marketplaces Marco Polo of Venice declared it “the most noble city and the best that is in the world”
Chinese Society Gentry – wealthy landowning class, (only ones who could afford to spend years studying to pass the civil service exam). Many are Confucianists Peasants – self sufficient, “heaven is high, and the emperor far away” Merchants – great potential/opportunity to acquire wealth, (Confucianists believed merchants were lower than peasants because their wealth came from the labor of others) Women – status diminished after Tang and early Song dynasty
Neo-Confucianism Appeal of Buddhism, causes a re-thinking of Confucianism Mencius (an old Confucian master), had written Zhu Xi, a commentary on Confucius’s main works Places an emphasis on the importance of social life Rejects withdrawing from life for individual meditation Death penalty for children 2.5 years hard labor for hitting your older sibling Brides and grooms usually the same age (unlike India) because Confucian principles didn’t want to mix generations Allowed mutual consent divorce (India doesn’t) Advocated confining young women, emphasized importance of virginity of young brides, fidelity for wives, and chastity for widows. (similar to India) Footbinding (a harsher, more constricting tradition than anything in India)
Young girl’s feet would be bound with long strips of cloth causing the foot to be about half the size it would normally become. Tiny feet and a stilted walk represented beauty and nobility. This noble tradition filtered down to the lower classes. Women whose feet had been bound could not easily walk on their own, further reinforcing the Confucian concept that women should remain inside the home. Only peasants who needed their daughters to work in the field omitted the practice.
Art and Literature Landscape painting – “create a harmonious relationship between heaven and earth”
Pagoda – Buddhist themes influenced Chinese architecture. Indian stupa evolved into the graceful Chinese pagoda. Chinese sculptors created statues of Buddha as well.
Porcelain – shiny, hard pottery, prized as the finest in the world. Westerners later call it “chinaware”
Chinese Inventions that Will Change the World Compasses Gunpowder