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China: Sung Dynasty and the Mongols. Sung Dynasty. The Sung Dynasty was around from 960 until 1279. It was regarded as the end of the medieval order and the beginning of modern development. There are two time periods the Northern Sung and the Southern Sung. Sung Dynasty. Northern Sung Dynasty.

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China: Sung Dynasty and the Mongols

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China sung dynasty and the mongols

China:Sung Dynasty and the Mongols

Sung dynasty

Sung Dynasty

The Sung Dynasty was around from 960 until 1279. It was regarded as the end of the medieval order and the beginning of modern development.

There are two time periods the Northern Sung and the Southern Sung.

Sung dynasty1

Sung Dynasty

Northern Sung Dynasty

Sung dynasty2

Sung Dynasty

Chao K’ung-Yin founded the Sung. He was also know as T’aiTsu.

This portrait of T'ai-tsu shows him in imperial regalia.

Chinese portrait painting emphasizes transmitting the spirit of the sitter, and Chinese physiognomy (the study of facial features) includes a type known as "imperial visage.“

Sung dynasty documents reveal that T'ai-tsu was so imposing that no one dared look him in the face.

All portraits of T'ai-tsu were painted by Wang Ai, a native of the capital. Whether this work was done by Wang or not is an issue that remains to be studied in further detail.

Sung dynasty3

Sung Dynasty

Kaifeng—near the Yellow River, it was a commercial and manufacturing center close to 1 million inhabitants.

Wang An-Shih—responsible for financial policy by 1068, 80% of the governments budget went to the military. So, how was this corrected?

--Personal property assessed for taxation

--Corvee labor was a given a wage

--government loans to peasants control of


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Sung Dynasty

Wang An-shih suggesting political reforms to emperor Shen-tsung

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Sung Dynasty

Sung Dynasty Art from Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Video Break

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Sung Dynasty

Grand Canal

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Sung Dynasty

Grand Canal

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Sung Dynasty

Invasion and Decline

Jurchen—capture the Sung capital at Kaifeng and invade northern China

1126—end of the northern sung

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Sung Dynasty

Southern Sung Dynasty

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Sung Dynasty

Southern Sung


Closer to the Yangtze river. The Yangtze delta was the southeast’s commercial center.

It was more wealthy and populous. It had many more merchants, artisans, shopkeepers, restaurants and teahouses.

Southern Sung was more successful because of tax revenues from manufactured goods and trade.

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Sung Dynasty

Southern Sung Art

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Sung Dynasty

Southern Sung Art

Probably the most successful of the Southern Song court landscapists was Xia Gui (active c. 1180-1224).  Pure and Remote Views of Mountains and Streams, shown below, is unusually tall for a handscroll, almost twenty inches in height. 

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Sung Dynasty

Southern Sung Technology

Naval ships—catapults with hurling explosive grenades. The use of a cannon, cast-metal barrels with a gunpowder propelled projectile.

The use of encyclopedias and algebra.

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Sung Dynasty

Collapse of the Sung

“He who sups with the devil needs a long spoon”




(Ogodei Khan)


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Sung Dynasty

Collapse of the Sung


Fighting between the two lasted 40 years

The Mongols defeated the north and they poured into Hangchou by 1276.



Mongol empire

Mongol empire

Geography—Northern China

Mongol empire1

Mongol empire


Northern China

Steppe Region

–Flat plains area few trees

—Cold and harsh winds

—Little in terms of agriculture

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Mongol empire

Why were the Mongols so successful?

Transportation—horse, Mongols controlled the major breeding grounds. They were tough, wiry and had more stamina

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Mongol empire

Why were the Mongols so successful?

Technology—stirrup, it gave a firmer ride on the horse and they were able to turn around.

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Mongol empire

Why were the Mongols so successful?

Technique—False retreat and ambush.

Hunting allowed them to practice their skills

Mongol empire5

Mongol Empire

Yuan Dynasty

Ghengis Khan

Ogedai Khan

Hulagu Khan

Kublai Khan

Batu Khan

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Mongol empire

Chinghis (Ghengis) Khan (1155-1227)—Temujin

--United the Mongols tribes through oaths and alliances

--Created unity among tribes based upon common allegiance

--built a strong army and in turn alliances with neighboring tribes in Central Asia. Converts to Islam

Yuan dynasty

Yuan Dynasty

Yuan dynasty1

Yuan Dynasty

Government—Used the Chinese bureaucratic system of government. Employed non-Chinese, foreigners. Marco Polo (1275-1292) served as worker.

Achievements—Rebuilt the Grand Canal and roads issued paper money and started a postal system

Tolerance and trade—Pax Mongolia policy of good will and tolerance toward different cultures

Decline—1350s Mongols loose control of the Yangtze river Valley. 1368 Mongols are forced back into the steppe.

Yuan dynasty2

Yuan Dynasty

Yuan dynasty3

Yuan Dynasty

Yuan dynasty art

Yuan Dynasty Art

Although it was in use in China before the advent of the Mongols, the paiza, an inscribed metal plaque that functioned as a passport or a patent of office, became a symbol of Mongol administration used to regulate and secure communication in the vast empire. Most paizi were circular or rectangular and were worn either fastened on an item of clothing or suspended from the neck to make them visible to customs officers. These metal plaques are not only important historical documents but are also of great interest for the study of Asian metalwork during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a time of massive movements of people and rapid exchange of ideas and technology.

Two kinds of Mongol plaques were issued–to officials as patents of office, and as passports for persons on state missions and for important guests. (Marco Polo on his return journey to Venice would have carried one.) The paiza illustrated here is a passport, made of iron with inlay of thick silver bands forming characters in the Phagspa script, devised for the Mongol language in 1269 by the Tibetan monk 'Phagspa (1235—1280), a close advisor to Kublai Khan (r. 1260–95). The inscription reads in translation (by Morris Rossabi):

By the strength of Eternal Heaven,an edict of the Emperor [Khan].He who has no respect shall be guilty.

Above it is a lobed handle, with an animal mask in silver inlay. The mask is probably the kirttimukha (lion mask) taken from Tibetan art but ultimately of Indian origin; the lobed shape reflects Islamic influence. Silver inlay on iron (as opposed to bronze) is extremely rare in China before the Mongol period.

This plaque is one of about a dozen Mongol paizi known. Two others of the same type are in Lanzhou, China, and in Russia. (The latter example was found during the nineteenth century in Tomskaya.)

Yuan dynasty art1

Yuan Dynasty Art

Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)ChinaSilk tapestry (kesi) 33 x 33 in. (83.8 x 83.8 cm)

This mandala is in the form of the Tibetan cosmological diagram. In the center is Mount Meru, the axis of the cosmos, surrounded by oceans and mountains of the four quarters. The work is typical of the Mongol Yuan period in China: technically superb, while stylistically and iconographically eclectic—Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese elements are all present.

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Mongol Empire

The Mongols—Crash Course World History #17

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