Chapter 12. China in the Middle Ages. Section 1- China reunites. After the Han Dynasty ended in A.D. 220, China had no central government. During this time, Korea broke away and created its own separate civilization.
China in the Middle Ages
After the Han Dynasty ended in A.D. 220, China had no central government. During this time, Korea broke away and created its own separate civilization.
In A.D. 581, a General named Wendi declared himself emperor and founded the Sui dynasty. After he died, his son Yangdi took on many projects that helped China’s economy.
Eventually, farmers that were forced to work on projects revolted against Yangdiand his army took control and killed him. Korea also broke free from China. This ended the Sui dynasty.
THE TANG DYNASTY
THE SONG DYNASTY
In the A.D. 300’s, Chinese Buddhists brought their religion to Korea.
Korean’s later brought Buddhism to Japan. In a letter a Korean king wrote to Japan’s emperor, he claims “This religion is the most excellent of all teachings.”
As a result of this, many Japanese people followed Buddhism
After the fall of the Han dynasty, Confucianism lost popularity. Tang and Song rulers brought Confucianism back into favor.
Neo-Confucianism was created. It taught that life in this world was just as important as in the afterlife. Followers were expected to take part in life and help others.
The Song dynasty adopted neo-Confucianism as their official belief system.
Tang and Song rulers used civil service examinations to hire officials. As a result, this created a new social class, the scholar-officials. These students were not allowed to do any physical labor.
SECTION 2- CHINESE SOCIETY
After the fall of the Han dynasty, there was much fighting and as a result, trade and farming suffered.
When the Tang rulers took power in A.D. 618, they brought peace to the countryside and gave land to farmers. As a result, farmers made many advances.
Farmers grew new kinds of rice and tea. With an abundance of food, this led to the rise of new cities.
Travel also flourished during the Tang dynasty. Rulers built many useful roads and waterways. This promoted trade and the Silk Road was once again very successful. On the Silk Road, the Chinese traded silk fabric, tea, steel, paper and porcelain.
The Chinese discovered coal could be used to heat things, and soon began the coal-mining industry. By heating iron, they soon discovered steel and began making steel armor, swords and helmets for their army and stoves, farm tools, chains, nails and needles.
Paper was invented in the Han dynasty. During the Tang dynasty, they began mass-producing paper. Soon, Chinese began printing books. The first known printed book a Buddhist book called “Diamond Sutra”.
The invention of printing was important because it helped to spread ideas more rapidly.
During the Song dynasty, China printed the world’s first paper money. Paper money helped the economy to expand and cities to grow.
Chinese writers expressed themselves through poetry. Li Bo and Du Fu were famous Chinese poets. Li Bo wrote about nature, while Du Fu often wrote about serious topics like social injustice and problems of the poor.
Artists would often paint landscapes but made sure to leave blank spaces on their paintings. Daoists believed was that a person could not know the whole truth about something. Painters also wrote in calligraphy.
The Chinese also perfected making porcelain, hence why today we call fine porcelain, “fine China”.
In 1271, Kublai Khan declared himself emperor. In 10 years, the Mongols conquered southern China and ended the Song dynasty. Kublai Khan started the Yuan dynasty.
In China, Kublai Khan gave Mongols top positions, but allowed for scholar-officials to continue to running the government.
Mongols were Buddhist, but they were tolerant of other religions. Kublai Khan invited people of many different faiths in order to win converts.
The Mongol empire grew very wealthy from trade through the Silk Road. A famous European traveler Marco Polo befriended Kublai Khan. Khan sent polo on many fact-finding trips. Marco Polo then wrote a book about his travels in China which fascinated Europeans.
Section 4- the ming dynasty
Under the Ming dynasty, officials carried out a census to help them accurately collect taxes. They also rebuilt many canals and farms in order to make them more efficient. Agriculture thrived in China, and cotton cloth became very popular.
Chinese culture also flourished. As artisans and merchants grew wealthier, they wanted to learn more and be entertained. There were many novels written, dramas on stage which included songs, dances, costumes and symbolic gesture.
Emperor Yong Le sent an official named Zheng He to travel on ships to trade and spread Chinese culture. These trips brought in outside ideas, which Chinese people did not like.