New developments in
irrigaLon and rice
culLvaLon, especially the
introducLon of new strains
of Rice from Champa what
is now Central Vietnam,
As a result the populaLon,
which had never before
exceeded 60 million, grew
to 100 million by 1127.
Many Song Dynasty
agricultural techniques are
sLll in use today
Vibrant Market Economy
The basic unit of payment
was copper coins strung on a
string, but these were heavy
and cumbersome for use in
The Song soluLon was to
print paper money — Helping
to grease the wheels of trade
was the world's ﬁrst paper
Marco Polo's report of this
was met with incredulity in
in the Arts:
Ewer, Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), 11th–
12th century; Yaozhou ware China
Stoneware with incised, carved, and relief
decoraLon under glaze; H. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Gif of Mrs. T. Samuel Peters, 1926 (26.292.73)
Scroll for Zhang Datong, dated 1100
Huang Tingjian (Chinese, 1045–1105)
Handscroll; ink on paper; 34.1 x 552.9 cm
The Art Museum, Princeton University
Gif of John B. Ellioh
Poem Wrihen in a Boat on the Wu River, Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), ca. 1100
Mi Fu (Chinese, 1052–1107) China
Handscroll; ink on paper; 44 columns in running‐cursive script; 12 1/4 in. x 18 f. 3 1/4 in. (31.1 x 557 cm)
Gif of John M. Crawford Jr., in honor of Professor Wen Fong, 1984 (1984.174)
Summer Mountains, Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), 11th century
Ahributed to Qu Ding (Chinese, acLve ca. 1023–ca. 1056) China
Handscroll; ink and pale color on silk; 17 7/8 x 45 3/8 in. (45.4 x 115.3 cm)
Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gif of The Dillon Fund, 1973 (1973.120.1)
Five‐Colored Parakeet Emperor Huizong 12th c.
He was also a great painter and calligrapher
who invented the quot;Slender Goldquot; style.
•He was one of the three Chinese emperors
to prohibit Buddhism.
Finches and Bamboo, Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)
Emperor Huizong (Chinese, 1082–1135; r. 1101–25) China
Handscroll; ink and color on silk; 11 x 18 in. (27.9 x 45.7 cm)
Inscribed with the cipher of the emperor
John M. Crawford Jr. CollecLon, Purchase, Douglas Dillon Gif, 1981 (1981.278)
Confucianism provided a faith for
people to live by, a convincing
account of the natural and human
world, and a theoreLcal
framework for state and society.
It emphasized self‐culLvaLon as a
path not only to self‐fulﬁllment but
to the formaLon of a virtuous and
harmonious society and state.
Some might emphasize one aspect
more than the other, but ideally,
learning to be a beher and wiser
person went hand in hand with
service to the larger social body.
Ask me about: Mencius
Public School System
Confucius taught that all people possessed the same potenLal, and
that educaLon was the correcLve means to curb any tendencies to
stray from ethical behavior.
•Confucius made educaLon available to students from all classes.
•EducaLon in China has thus been a equalizing force from ancient Lmes which
became the means by which individuals from even the humblest backgrounds could
rise to great heights.
•The ethics of Confucius which informed the tradiLonal curriculum, it was also a
powerful mechanism for implemenLng the ethical and social norms of Chinese
“To enrich your family, there is no need to buy good land:
Books hold a thousand measures of grain.
For an easy life, there is no need to build a mansion:
In books are found houses of gold.
When you go out, do not be upset if no one follows you:
In books there will be a crowd of horses and carriages.
If you wish to marry, don't be upset if you don't have a go‐between:
In books there are girls with faces like jade.
A young man who wishes to be somebody
will devote his Eme to the Classics.
He will face the window and read”.
The Song Emperor, Renzong
Since the Sui Dynasty (581‐617), passing a series of examinaLons led to
oﬃce in the civil service. It was only in the Song, however, that the
examinaLon system came to be considered the normal ladder to
success, though even then many took alternate routes.
Exams based on a command of Confucian texts.
Honesty was ensured by such measures as
idenLfying papers by number rather than the
ExaminaLon taking could become a lifeLme
endeavor. CompeLLon was keen from the start,
but became intolerable by the end of the Song
ReproducLon of Cell Used by Students
Taking the Imperial Exams
Chinese, Northern Song Dynasty
Guanyin, 11th century
wood with polychrome and gilt
39 inches high
The Iron Pagoda, Kaifeng
Women of the Song
• Under the Song, many women gained rights to
own property, their ability to inherit, and to
control their children's educaLon.
• Women also ran businesses and oversaw
Shen Kuo (Kua)
Born: 1031 ‐ Died: 1095
Song Dynasty scienLst, mathemaLcian, general,
diplomat, ﬁnancial oﬃcer was the inventor
of compasses for navigaLon. He found out, that
the compasses do not point north but to the
magneLc north pole. That was the decisive step
to make them useful for navigaLon.
He also formulated an hypothesis for the process of land formaLon: based on his
observaLon of fossil shells in a mountain hundreds of miles from the ocean, he
inferred that the land was formed by erosion of the mountains and by deposiLon of
silt. Shen Kuo was not only a geologist; his memoirs also examined magneLsm,
astronomy, and engineering, and other ﬁelds.
He created a book Meng Xi Bi Tan
(Translated “The Sketchbook of Dream Brook” or “Dream Pool Essays”)
(1086) in which he wrote about mineralogy, erosion, sedimentaLon and uplif,
mathemaLcs, astronomy, and meteorology. AhempLng to compile all of the
scien+ﬁc knowledge of his day. Among this he also documented the knowledge of
the common people, the creaLve invenLons and innovaLons created by those who
were not of the gentry.
This book s+ll survives today.
Mariner's compass, with a ﬂoaLng
magneLzed needle poinLng north
A further reﬁnement in the box compass (to
South Facing Chinese Compass. model of the ﬁrst
the right) is from about 1200 CE, and is
instrument known to be a compass. The spoon is of
much more suitable for navigaLon.
magneLc loadstone, and the plate is of bronze
PrinLng Press w/ Movable Type
A modern reproducLon of the movable type
invented by Pi Sheng between 1041 and 1048,
and a page printed from it. Movable type was
not invented by Johann Gutenberg, in 1423 as is
universally believed in the West. The
reproducLon was made from the detailed
descripLon by Shen Kuo which survives from
Advances in Science, Math and Medicine
“The Golden Age of
under the Song.
Advances were also made
in medicine, as the first
autopsy was performed in
about 1145 AD on the
body of a Southern
The Silk Road
• The Silk Road ‐ A Vast Network of Trade Routes
During the ﬁrst millennium B.C.E. through the middle of the second millennium C.E., a vast
network of trade routes known as the quot;Silk Roadquot; linked the people and tradiLons of Asia
with those of Europe. These historic routes served as a major conduit for the transport of
knowledge, informaLon and material goods between East and West and resulted in the ﬁrst
global exchange of scienLﬁc and cultural tradiLons.
Transfer of InnovaLons
Many important scienLﬁc and technological innovaLons
migrated along the Silk Road to the West.
Transfer of these innovaLons, including gunpowder, the magneLc
compass, the prinLng press, silk, mathemaLcs, musical instruments,
ceramic and lacquer crafs, was gradual, so that the West had no clear
idea as to their origins.
Kublai Khan giving
protecLon tablets to
Marco Polo's father and
Marco Polo (1254‐1324),
The famous VeneLan traveled on the Silk Road. His journey through Asia
lasted 24 years. He reached further than any of his predecessors, beyond
Mongolia to China. He became a conﬁdant of Kublai Khan (1214‐1294). He
traveled the whole of China and returned to tell the tale, which became the
Sea routes, important for trade and for communicaLon, may
also be considered part of the Silk Road.
The Song were world leaders in
ship‐building including water‐
Lght compartments and
with the aid of
Their ships contained as many as
four decks, six masts, a dozen compasses,
sails and held 500 sailors. another Chinese
The Song period improvements in speed, adaptability to marine
condiLons, and steadiness.
A strong navy of an ahacking army could come right up to a riverside city.
If a ship's deck was high enough, soldiers could step from it to the top of
the city's wall.
quot;Sea Hawks,quot; as the type of ship above was called, had ﬂoaLng boards on each side to
stabilize the ship. (it is diﬃcult to disLnguish the oars from these boards.)
Song ships were also strengthened with iron in the hull.
Some had several decks to keep the ship steady.
Song bahleships were equipped with ﬁre‐bomb catapults and incendiary arrows that used
gunpowder. SomeLmes protected staLons on upper decks were created for crossbowmen
who also played the role of watchmen.
The Military catapult
The Song possessed superior militarily technology rather
than military skills.
Determined to keep power out of the hands of the military
leaders, Song rulers reduced the status of its military men.
No longer could oﬃcials move between the civil and
Some soldiers were tahooed to keep them from deserLng.
and ball bombs
quot;Fire‐spurLng lancesquot; were also invented during
the Song. Bamboo was used as a barrel to hold the
gunpowder, though by the Song, metal barrels
were also used. Some had narrow barrels and
could be held by one person. Others were
mounted on wooden frames and can be
understood to precede the modern cannon; these
were called eruptors.
System of Tributes
Huizong neglected the army, and Song China became increasingly
weak and at the mercy of foreign enemies.
To the North, the Jurchen of Manchuria founded the
Jin Dynasty pressured the Song on the northern border.
Emperor Huizong began a system of tributes where gold, silk, grains
and other goods were oﬀered to the Jin in exchange for peace.
The Jin soon declared war and by the beginning of 1126 they
crossed the Yellow River and came in sight of Kaifeng, the capital of
the Song empire.
Stricken with panic, Huizong abdicated on January 18, 1126 in favor
of his son who became Emperor Qinzong.
Captured by the invading Jin, Huizong spent the last 8 years of his
life as a capLve. The man who once had been the most powerful
ruler on earth and had lived in opulence and art died a broken man
in far‐away Northern Manchuria in June 1135 at the age of 52.
In 1125, when the Jurchen, a seminomadic people from northeast Asia, invaded Song China
and captured the capital at Bianliang (modern Kaifeng), founding their own Jin dynasty in the
north, the Song court reestablished itself in the south in Hangzhou, where it conLnued to rule
for another 150 years as the Southern Song dynasty.
• Days afer his birth, ﬂooding of the Yellow
River destroyed Yue Fei's village.
• His father drowned in the ﬂoods, but not
before he had ensured the survival of his
wife and son by ﬂoaLng them downstream
in a jar.
• Yue Fei became proﬁcient in warfare at an
early age. As a young man narrowly escaped
execuLon afer killing the Prince of Liang in a
marLal arts tournament.
• He did not join the ﬁght against the Jurchen
invaders unLl he was 23.