3: China: 6 Dynasties, Tang, and Song

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Transcript 3: China: 6 Dynasties, Tang, and Song

Six Dynasties Period
Sui Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
Song Dynasty
Six Dynasties Period
222-589 AD
Collapse of Han in 221 AD
Six Dynasties period
(That is 221 CE – “common era”)
No stable, single government
Local autonomy
Buddhism emerges as important
Adopted as official religion in “Ming” Dynasty
of this period (not the same as later Ming)
Six Dynasties Period:
Buddhism spreads from Ming elite to
popular sector
Weakened Confucian Scholar Hierarchy
Political and social chaos leaves people looking
for comfort
Six Dynasties Period
Buddhism addresses issues missed by native
Chinese concepts
Addresses the next world more directly and
Chinese Buddhism Provides Bodhisattvas
Offers comfort and solace to the weak and
Sui Dynasty: 589-619 AD
Reestablish order
Begin rebuilding China
a single empire
Refine art
Tang Dynasty:
618 –905 AD
Northern origins
Develop equestrian
military technologies
learned from the horsemen of the plains
Expanded China’s borders and affected all
nations around China
A highlight of Chinese power and political
Tang First Emperor
Gao Zu
Takes on the same name
as the first emperor of Han
Name means High
Tributary System
Builds a hierarchical international system
China is the ‘father’ and the other nations are
Sometimes the metaphor is big brother/little
Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, etc. all recognize
China as the central nation
Tang Era
Tributary System
China’s Tributary
system symbolized
by the Kowtow
Tang Painting
and Ceramics
Block printing and wide
use of paper from 680
Paper developed @107 AD:
not used much until
Tun-Huang Grotto
Tang Dynasty officials adopt and promote
Buddhist art flourishes
China’s First
Empress Wu
683-705 AD
Only woman to rule in her own name as
Other women became Regents
Concubine to Emperor
Alliance with Buddhist monks and
with Eunuchs
Slaughter all contenders to the
Empress Wu &
Civil Service Exams
Institutes Confucian
Civil Service Exam
Recruit and promote new officials by exam
Intended to weaken rival clans and build loyalty to
Empress Wu
Opens up path for upward mobility
Confucian Civil Service Exam
Tests knowledge of
Confucian classics
Civil Service Exam
Establishes meaningful meritocracy
Limits influence of family connections and
Creates common knowledge base for officials
Creates a well educated bureaucracy
Also creates a sort of ‘group think’ mentality that
limits flexibility and creativity later
Tang: Agriculture
Wet Rice cultivation
@ 800 AD
Increases yields
New varieties mature
Population expands
Taxes, Tea, and Flying Money
Tang Dynasty suffers from insufficient tax
Solution: Tea monopoly
Leads to “flying money” or a system of bank
notes that enable more commerce
Tang Collapse
Tang Dynasty after the rebellion of An Lushan in
860 AD weakens
Collapses through rebellions in the north in 905
Ends with no successor
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
Song Dynasty
Two periods of Song Dynasty:
 Song: 960-1126 AD
 Southern Song 1127-1279 AD
Greater Commerce
Regular paper money system develops
Song period pottery and painting flourish