Reunification and Renaissance in China

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Transcript Reunification and Renaissance in China

Reunification and
Renaissance in
Era of Division 220-589 CE
New series of nomadic invasions and regional
wars for imperial power
Bureaucratic apparatus disappeared
Buddhism eclipsed Confucian teachings
Great Wall divided between kingdoms usually
poorly defended
Trade and city life declined, technology
Rise of the Sui
580s initial rise of the Sui dynasty
Wendi- marriage between his daughter and
ruler of northern Zhou- then seized the
throne of his son-in-law and took won
support of nomadic military commanders
Extended the empire across northern China
and in 589 conquered the Chen kingdom
Won widespread support by lowering taxes,
establishing granaries
Sui Excesses and
Wendi’s son Yangdi (who murdered his father to
reach the throne) extended conquests and drove back
Legal and educational reforms promoted the scholargentry but at the expense of great aristocratic families
and military commanders
Yangdi’s extravagant lifestyle and use of subjects as
611-614- Korea campaign- failed
Soon widespread revolts across empire
618- Yangdi assassinated by one of his own ministers
The emergence of the
Tang and the Restoration
of the Empire
Li Yuan, Duke of Tang- one of Yangdi’s loyal officials
623 Li Yuan emerged victorious after five-year
struggle after Yangdi’s death
Conquered deep into central Asia- this meant that
nomadic invaders had to submit to Tang rule
Created frontier armies (from Turkic peoples- sent
sons to live in the cities)
Extended further into parts of Vietnam and Koreathey built an empire bigger than the boundaries of
modern-day China
Rebuilding the
Increase in power of scholar-gentrydecrease in power of aristocratic families
so from the Tang-era onward political
power in China shared by imperial
families and the bureaucrats of the civil
service system
 Changan- new capital
 Bureaucracy reached county levels
The Growing
Importance of the
Examination System
Patronized academies to train state officials and
educate them in Confucian classics, which were thought
to teach moral and organizational principles- Ministry of
Rites administered the examinations
Jinshi- those who passed exams on the philosophical
and legal classics and Chinese literature
Birth and family position still very important- upper
levels of power still dominated by aristocracy- fathers to
State Religion in the
Tang-Song Era
Increasing state patronage for Confucian learning threatened old
aristocratic families and Buddhist monastic orders
 Buddhism proliferated in China after the fall of the Han. Masses
adopted pure land strain of Mahayana Buddhism which provided
refuge from turmoil and war, while elite attracted to Zen Buddhism
with its stress on meditation and natural beauty- goal to escape cycle
of rebirth
 Early Tang rulers patronized Buddhism while promoting
Confucian classics studies
 Empress Wu (Tang ruler from 690-705 CE) supported Buddhist
establishment heavily- even tried to elevate it to a state religion
Anti-Buddhist Backlash
Daoist monks tried to counter Buddhism by stressing their own
magical and predictive powers
Confucian scholar-administrators- campaign against Buddhist
monastic lands because they weren’t taxed- this was most damaging
By mid-8th century state fears of Buddhist wealth and power led to
measures to limit the flow of land and resources to the monastic
orders. Emperor Wuzong (r. 841-847) open persecution of Buddhists
Confucianism emerged again as the central ideology of Chinese
civilization for most of the period from the 9th- 20th century
Buddhism had opposite experience in mainland southeast Asia,
Tibet, and parts of Central Asia
Tang Decline and the
Rise of the Song
After Empress Wu, Empress Wei tried to control the country and
placed her child on the throne but her attempt was thwarted by a
prince who became emperor Xuanzong (r. 713 – 756) marked the
peak of the Tang power and the high point of Chinese civilization
under the dynasty
 Xuanzong started out strong but then became disinterested and the
empire waned- he became infatuated with Yang Guifei (a young
woman from the harem of an imperial prince) after the death of his
second wife- their romance famous for further weakening the
empire. She became a royal concubine and moved her greedy
relatives into power. Economic distress coupled with anger over the
state affairs led to An Lushan leading a revolt in 755 with the
intention of establishing a new Tang dynasty
Revolt crushed but at a high cost - Tang had
allied themselves with nomadic peoples in the
north, delegated resources and political power to
regional commanders who remained loyal to the
dynasty. Nomads took advantage of the
situation. Regional powers began acting
independently. Succession of revolts in the 9th
907 last emperor of Tang dynasty forced to
The Founding of the
Song Dynasty
960- military commander Zhao Kuangyin
emerged to reunite China under single dynasty
(educated man) He was renamed emperor Taizu
and founded Song dynasty
Routed out all rivals except one- northern Liao
dynasty which had been founded in 907 by
the nomadic Khitan peoples from
Manchuria- plagued the dynasty- in 1004
Song forced to pay tribute to keep it from
raiding the Song domains
Song Politics: Settling
for Partial Restoration
Song never matched Tang in political or
military strength. Military subordinate to civilian
administrators. Military commanders rotated to
keep them from building up a base
Strong promotion of Confucian scholargentry. Routinized civil service exams.
Bureaucracy bloated with well-paid officials
with nothing to do
The Revival of
Confucian Thought
Revival of Confucian thought dominated
intellectual life. Study of classical texts. New
schools of philosophy
Zhu Xi- prominent thinker who stressed the
importance of applying philosophical principles
to everyday life and action (neo-Confucians)cultivating personal morality the highest goalhostility to outside influence- eventually stifled
innovation and critical thinking of the elite.
Emphasis on rank, obligation, deference.
Importance of upholding the patriarch in Chinese
Roots of Decline:
Attempts at Reform
Mid-11th century Tangut tribes (originally from Tibet) had
established a kingdom Xi Xia. Song had to pay tribute and this
drained resources from the empire.
 Cost of army to ward off invaders burdensome (but size of army
much greater than counterparts in Japan and western Europe).
Emphasis on scholar-gentry meant no good military commanders
 1070s and 1080s Wang Anshi (a chief minister of the Song
Shenzong emperor) tried to ward off impending collapse by
introducing reforms but his reforms depended on support from the
Shenzong emperor but he died in 1085 and Anshi lost support
Reaction and Disaster:
The Flight to the South
Economic conditions worsened and peasant unrest
1115 nomadic contender the Jurchens overthrew the
Liao dynasty of the Khitans and established the Jin
kingdom. Soon the Jin annexed most of the Yellow River
basin and forced the Song to flee south
Song capital transferred to Hangzhou- Southern Song
dynasty (1127-1279). Politically nothing much but
culturally one of the most glorious in history.
Golden Age of
Grand Canal-constructed by Yangdi and
nearly 1200 miles long- ran North to South
and linked north China plain to Yangtze river
basin. This made south become major foodproducing area of the empire
Commerical expansion- Tang control of
Central Asia reopened the silk roads; China
mainly exporting manufactured goods and
imported luxury goods, such as aromatic
woods and spices. Chinese junks the best
ships in the world at the time (along with the
Arab dhows). Banks, money, guilds
City and Rural Growth
The World's Most Splendid Cities Changan- nearly 2 million inhabitants and
the largest in the world. Roughly 10 percent
of pop. living in urban cities. Hangzhou- size,
beauty, sophistication
Expanding Agrarian Production and Life in
the Country- state-regulated irrigation
systems and settlement of unsettled areas;
improved methods increased yield of peasant
production; policies aimed at breaking the
great estates of the old aristocracy
Family Life
family organization largely
resembled old family organization;
male-dominated hierarchy promoted
by Confucianism; women subordinate
but some elite women had access to
power and divorce was allowed as
were "complementary husbands"
Gender Relations
Neo-Confucian Assertion of Male
Dominance - overall condition of
women worsened, neo-Confucian
thinkers stressed female role as
homemaker and mother and bearer of
sons, advocated confining women; in
contrast, men were out and about;
footbinding- late Song era- lower class
slower to adopt practice because
needed mobile women as workers
Invention and
- technological advances- grand
canal, dikes, dams, bridges,
explosive powder; domesticallychairs, tea drinking across
empire, coal; others- compass for
navigation, moveable type by Bi
Sheng, high level of literacy,
Scholarly Achievement
Scholarly Refinement and Artistic
Accomplishment - generalists not
specialists; Tang best remembered for
its Confucian teachers and scholaradministrators; Heavy focus in
literature on common life; Li Bo most
famous poet of Tang era; Song eraintense interest in nature in art