Chapter 14
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Chapter 14. The Resurgence of Empire in East Asia. The Sui Dynasty (589-618 CE). Regional kingdoms succeed collapse of Han dynasty Yang Jian consolidates control of all of China, initiates Sui Dynasty Massive building projects Military labor Conscripted labor. The Grand Canal.

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Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

Chapter 14

The Resurgence of Empire in East Asia

The sui dynasty 589 618 ce

The Sui Dynasty (589-618 CE)

  • Regional kingdoms succeed collapse of Han dynasty

  • Yang Jian consolidates control of all of China, initiates Sui Dynasty

  • Massive building projects

    • Military labor

    • Conscripted labor

The grand canal

The Grand Canal

  • Intended to promote trade between north and south China

    • Most Chinese rivers flow west-east

  • Linked network of earlier canals

    • 2000k (1240 miles)

    • Roads on either bank

  • Succeeded only by railroad traffic in 20th century

The tang dynasty 618 907 ce

The Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE)

  • Wide discontent over conscripted labor in Sui dynasty

  • Military failures in Korea prompt rebellion

  • Emperor assassinated in 618

    • Tang Dynasty initiated

Tang taizong

Tang Taizong

  • Second emperor of Tang dynasty (r. 627-649 CE)

  • Murdered two brothers, thrust father aside to take throne

  • Strong ruler

    • Built capital at Chang’an

    • Law and order

    • Taxes, prices low

    • More effective implementation of earlier Sui policies

Major achievements of tang dynasty

Major achievements of Tang Dynasty

  • Transportation and communications

    • Extensive postal, courier services

  • Equal-field System

    • 20% of land hereditary ownership

    • 80% redistributed according to formula

      • Family size, land fertility

    • Worked well until 8th century

      • Corruption, loss of land to Buddhist monasteries

Bureaucracy of merit

Bureaucracy of Merit

  • Imperial civil service examinations

    • Confucian educational curriculum

  • Some bribery, nepotism

  • But most advance through merit

    • Built loyalty to the dynasty

    • System remains strong until early 20th century

Tang military expansion and foreign relations

Tang Military Expansion and Foreign Relations

  • Manchuria, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet

  • One of the largest expansions of China in its history

  • Established tributary relationships

    • Gifts

  • China as “Middle Kingdom”

    • The kowtow ritual

Chapter 14


The Sui and Tang dynasties, 589-907 CE

Tang decline

Tang Decline

  • Governmental neglect: Emperor obsessed with music, favorite concubine

  • 775 rebellion under An Lushan, former military commander

  • Captures Chang’an, but rebellion crushed by 763

  • Nomadic Uighur mercenaries invited to suppress rebellion, sacked Chang’an and Luoyang

  • Tang decline continues, rebellions in 9th century, last emperor abdicates 907

Song dynasty 960 1279 ce

Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE)

  • Emphasis on administration, industry, education, the arts

  • Military not emphasized

  • Direction of first emperor, Song Taizu (r. 960-976 CE)

    • Former military leader

    • Made emperor by troops

    • Instituted policy of imperial favor for civil servants, expanded meritocracy

The song dynasty 960 1279 c e

The Song dynasty, 960-1279 C.E.

The Song dynasty, 960-1279 CE

Song weaknesses

Song Weaknesses

  • Size of bureaucracy heavy drain on economy

    • Two peasant rebellions in 12th c.

    • Internal inertia prevents reform of bureaucracy

  • Civil service leadership of military

    • Lacked military training

    • Unable to contain nomadic attacks

    • Jurchen conquer, force Song dynasty to Hangzhou, southern China (Southern Song)

Agricultural economies of the tang and song dynasties

Agricultural Economies of the Tang and Song Dynasties

  • Developed Vietnamese fast-ripening rice, 2 crops per year

  • Technology: iron plows, use of draft animals

  • Soil fertilization, improved irrigation

    • Water wheels, canals

  • Terrace farming

Population growth

Population Growth

  • Result of increased agricultural production

  • Effective food distribution system

    • Transportation networks built under Tang and Song dynasties



  • Chang’an world’s most populous city: 2 million residents

    • Southern Song capital Hangzhou: over 1 million

Patriarchal social structures

Patriarchal Social Structures

  • Increased emphasis on ancestor worship

    • Elaborate grave rituals

    • Extended family gatherings in honor of deceased ancestors

  • Footbinding gains popularity

    • Increased control by male family members



Technology and industry

Technology and Industry

  • Porcelain (“Chinaware”)

  • Increase of iron production due to use of coke, not coal, in furnaces

    • Agricultural tools, weaponry

  • Gunpowder invented

  • Earlier printing techniques refined

    • Moveable type by mid-11th century

    • Yet complex Chinese ideographs make wood block technique easier

  • Naval technology

Emergence of a market economy

Emergence of a Market Economy

  • Letters of credit developed to deal with copper coin shortages

    • Promissory notes, checks also used

  • Development of independently produced paper money

    • Not as stable, riots when not honored

  • Government claims monopoly on money production in 11th century

China and the hemispheric economy

China and the Hemispheric Economy

  • Increasingly cosmopolitan nature of Chinese cities

  • Chinese silk opens up trade routes, but increases local demands for imported luxury goods

Cultural change in tang and song china

Cultural Change in Tang and Song China

  • Declining confidence in Confucianism after collapse of Han dynasty

  • Increasing popularity of Buddhism

  • Christianity, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, Islam also appear

  • Clientele primarily foreign merchant class



  • Mahayana Buddhism especially popular in western China (Gansu province), 600-1000 CE

  • Buddhist temples, libraries

  • Economic success as converts donate land holdings

  • Increase popularity through donations of agricultural produce to the poor

Conflicts with chinese culture


Text-based (Buddhist teachings)

Emphasis on Metaphysics

Ascetic ideal




Text-based (Confucian teachings)

Daoism not text-based

Emphasis on ethics, politics



Filial piety

Conflicts with Chinese Culture

Chan zen buddhism

Chan (Zen) Buddhism

  • Buddhists adapt ideology to Chinese climate

    • Dharma translated as dao

    • Nirvana translated as wuwei

  • Accommodated family lifestyle

    • “one son in monastery for ten generations of salvation”

  • Limited emphasis on textual study, meditation instead

Persecution of buddhists

Persecution of Buddhists

  • Daoist/Confucian persecution supported in late Tang dynasty

  • 840s begins systematic closure of Buddhist temples, expulsions

    • Zoroastrians, Christians, Manicheans as well

  • Economic motive: seizure of large monastic landholdings

Neo confucianism


  • Song dynasty refrains from persecuting Buddhists, but favors Confucians

  • Neo-Confucians influenced by Buddhist thought

China and korea

China and Korea

  • Silla Dynasty: Tang armies withdraw, Korea recognizes Tang as emperor

  • Technically a vassal statue, but highly independent

  • Chinese influence on Korean culture pervasive

China and vietnam

China and Vietnam

  • Vietnamese adaptation to Chinese culture, technology

  • But ongoing resentment at political domination

  • Assert independence when Tang dynasty falls in 10th century

China and early japan

China and Early Japan

  • Chinese armies never invade Japan

  • Yet Chinese culture pervasive

  • Imitation of Tang administration

    • Establishment of new capital at Nara, hence “Nara Japan” (710-794 CE)

  • Adoption of Confucian, Buddhist teachings

  • Yet retention of Shinto religion

Heian japan 794 1185 ce

Heian Japan (794-1185 CE)

  • Japanese emperor moves court to Heian (Kyoto)

  • Yet emperor figurehead, real power in hands of Fujiwara clan

    • Pattern in Japanese history: weak emperor, power behind the throne

    • Helps explain longevity of the institution

Japanese literature

Japanese Literature

  • Influence of Chinese kanji characters

    • Classic curriculum dominated by Chinese

Institution of the shogun

Institution of the Shogun

  • Civil war between Taira and Minamoto clans in 12th century

  • Minamoto leader named shogun, 1185 CE

  • Ruled from Kamakura, allowed imperial throne to continue in Kyoto

Medieval japan

Medieval Japan

  • Kamakura (1185-1333 CE) and Muromachi (1336-1573 CE) periods

  • Decentralized power in hands of warlords

  • Military authority in hands of samurai

  • Professional warriors

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