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Chapter 12: Reunification and Renaissance in Chinese Civilization: The Era of the Tang and Song Dynasties. AP World History I. Overview. With the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE, China alternates between periods of political unity and fragmentation
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Chapter 12: Reunification and Renaissance in Chinese Civilization: The Era of the Tang and Song Dynasties AP World History I
Overview • With the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE, China alternates between periods of political unity and fragmentation • Not as traumatic as the fall of Rome for Western Europe • Between 589 and 906 CE, China enjoyed a political revival under the Sui and Tang Dynasties. • China will also be rocked by the advances of the Mongol armies in the 1200s.
The Sui Dynasty • The first strong dynasty to emerge after the fall of the Han was the Sui Dynasty (589-618 CE). • Reunified China • Expanded China’s borders as a result of military conquest
Tang Dynasty • Under the Tang (618-906 CE), China became larger than ever before. • Rulers extend China’s influence to parts of Central Asia, Mongolia, Manchuria, Tibet, and to the south, the Pacific Coast. • Like the Han Dynasty, the Tang forced many of its neighbors into a Tributary System, whereas Korea, Vietnam, Japan and others had to make regular payments to avoid punishment.
Tang Dynasty • Tang economy was very strong due to advanced infrastructure (roads, waterways, canals) • Grand Canal: Begun in the Sui Dynasty to link the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers. • Increased trade stimulated the Tang economy • Silk industry made China exceptionally wealthy
Means of Trade/Exchange • Indian Ocean Trade Network: China’s control of the southern coast allowed participation in the Indian Ocean Trade Network. • China also traded along the 5000 mile Silk Road with the Middle East.
Culture in Tang China • Tang rulers were cultural patrons • Emperor Xuanzong sponsored the creation of the Han Lin Academy of Letters, a key institution of learning • The Tang exerted a strong artistic and religious influence over Korea and Japan. • Tang monarchs expanded and reworked the imperial bureaucracy • Revived Scholar-gentry elite reworked Confucian ideology
Tang Examination System • Tang emperors patronized academies to train state officials and educate them in Confucian classics. • Examination system was greatly expanded. • Patterns of advancement were regularized • While most bureaucrats won their position through success in the Civil Service Examination system, birth and family connections still played a role in securing office.
State and Religion • Buddhism thrived in the time before the Sui and Tang dynasties • Many pre-Tang rulers from nomadic origins were devout Buddhists • Chan variant of Buddhism (Zen) stressed meditation and appreciation of natural beauty. Zen had great appeal to Chinese educated classes. • Tang support of Confucianism threatened to undercut Buddhist success…however, Tang Emperors and Empresses supported the Buddhist establishment (Empress Wu r. 690-705 CE).
State and Religion • Support of Buddhist aroused the envy of Confucian and Daoist rivals. • Confucian leaders stress the economic impact of not taxing Buddhist monasteries, and losing out on labor because they couldn’t conscript peasants who worked on monastic estates. • Under Wuzong (r. 841-847) China openly persecuted Buddhists. • Never again would Buddhism gain the strength it had in the early-Tang era…however, it would survive in China • Confucianism becomes dominant ideology of Chinese civilization from the 9th to early 20th century.
Tang Decline • During the 800’s, a series of peasant rebellions and military disasters weakened the Tang. • In 906, the Tang Dynasty collapsed and several centuries of disunity will follow.
China after the Tang • Following the Tang breakdown, China fragmented into separate states until the late 1200s. • The largest and longest lasting was the Song Empire. • Song empire will last until 1279. • Until 1121, the primary threat to the Song was the Liao empire to the north.
China after the Tang • The Song paid tribute to the Liao via silk and cash, but then destroyed them with the help of Jurchen tribes from the North (even farther north). • However, the Jurchen then proclaimed their own Empire, the Jin, and turned on the Song. • The Song gave up territory and retreated to the South. The smaller Song state, the Southern Song Dynasty, will survive until the Mongol Conquests of the 1270s.
Song Characteristics • Culturally and economically impressive • Steady population growth • World’s largest urbanized society • Largest cities on earth at the time (population over 1 million) • Trade contacts lessened, but still active. • More involvement with the Pacific coast and Southeast Asia. • Port of Canton (Guangzhou) became the world’s busiest and most cosmopolitan trading centers. • Large trading vessels, known as junks, cruised the eastern seas and Indian Ocean carrying goods for trade.
Song Culture and Religion • With the exception of the Abbasid Caliphate, Song China was of the most scientifically and technically advanced societies in the world. • Excellent mathematicians and astronomers. • Accurate clocks, compasses (used at sea in 1090). • Su-Song’s celestial clock was built in 1088 CE • 80 feet tall • Time of day, day of month, positions of the sun, moon, planets, and major stars. • First device in world history to use a chain-driven mechanism powered by flowing water.
Chinese Inventions of the Song Era • Gunpowder • Paper Currency (flying money) • Made use of Block Printing (adopted from the Koreans)
Religion • Great revival of Confucius’ teachings, known as Neo-Confucianism. • Reinforced Chinese culture’s tendency toward hierarchy and obedience. • Put a premium on education and cultured behavior • Civil Service Examination system
Women in Chinese Society • Neo-Confucianism was used to justify the greater subordination of women. • Earlier, a husband’s family had to produce a dowry for a new bride, but during this time period, it reversed…Marriages were arranged for the groom’s benefit. • Chinese subjugation of women was most obvious in foot-binding. • Kept women’s feet tiny and dainty, but crippled them. • Established in the 1200’s, and continued to the 1900’s.
Women in Chinese Society • Women of lower classes were freer than those in the upper classes, but still occupied a secondary status to that of men. • Women of all classes had property inheritance rights, and retained control of their dowry after death or divorce of husband.