China -- Sui, Tang, & Song Dynasties Sui 589-618 Tang 618-907 Song 960 -1279

Sui, tang, song

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Page 1: Sui, tang, song

China -- Sui, Tang, & Song Dynasties

Sui 589-618

Tang 618-907

Song 960 -1279

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Background After the fall of the Han Empire (220 c.e.)

Northern China was invaded by nomadic groups (who assimilated Chinese culture)

No leader 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.

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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.

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“A Golden Age”

China during the Tang and Song dynasties had . . .

political stability (strong central government)

economic growth & changeintellectual & artistic achievement

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Grand Canal

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China during the Sui, Tang, & Song Dynasties

Sui 589-618

Tang 618-907

Song 960 -1279

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CHANGESIn the 300 years between the Han and

the Sui Dynasties – Buddhism spread & changed Migration of people into southern China Destruction of old growth forests and

animal species

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CHANGESDURING THE TANG & SONG dynasties Economic revolution, commercialization,

and urbanization Technological innovation Cultural and Economic interaction with

“outsiders” – spread of Chinese culture Buddhism changed SEE STRAYERNOTES #1,2,3,8,9,10

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1. What CAUSED Buddhism & Daoism to gain more acceptance? What caused the environmental changes?

2. What CAUSED the economic revolution & commercialization to take place in China?(382-384)

 3. What CAUSED women’s status to decline?

8. What CAUSED China to have greater interaction with Eurasia?

9. What CAUSED the growth of Buddhism in China? (401)

10. What CAUSED Buddhism to change as it spread in China? (401-402)

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CONTINUITIES from the Classical Period through the Sui, Tang, & Song Dynasties.

Confucianism remained a foundation of government, social structure, and culture (Daoism, too).

Agriculture remained the foundation of the economy.

Strong central government continued with a powerful emperor (mandate of heaven) & scholar-bureaucracy (examination system)

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Written language was separate from spoken languages

The social class structure & patriarchy remained relatively constant.

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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 still in the lower classes.

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Interaction with nomadic groups to the North continued to influence the politics, economy, and culture of China.

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Chinese cultural influence on its neighbors remained strong.

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Gender RolesWomen’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, &


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From Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai

“A girl's 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.”

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Economic Revolution in Tang & Song China

Agricultural production improved & crop specialization intensified with improved infrastructure, iron implements, and printing.

RESULT – Population dramatically


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INDUSTRY increased

in manufacturing Metals Silk Porcelain

Producing goods for the market instead of local consumption became common

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TRADE Indian Ocean trade

increased with Tang control over coastal Southern China

Silk Road trade increased

Regional trade improved due to improved infrastructure

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Commercial developmentsBanking and Credit systemGovernment issued paper money.

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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.

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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

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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.