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Resurgent China (Tang and Song) Theme: Centralization. Lsn 5. ID & SIG. bureaucracy of merit, equal-field system, fast-ripening rice, Grand Canal, gunpowder, letters of credit, movable type, paper money, Song Dynasty, Tang Dynasty. Dynasties.

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id sig
  • bureaucracy of merit, equal-field system, fast-ripening rice, Grand Canal, gunpowder, letters of credit, movable type, paper money, Song Dynasty, Tang Dynasty
  • “A sequence of powerful leaders in the same family”
    • Shang Dynasty 1766 to 1122 B.C.
    • Zhou Dynasty 1122 to 256 B.C.
    • Tang Dynasty 618 to 907 A.D.
    • Song Dynasty 960 to 1279 A.D.

Tang Dynasty

restoration of centralized imperial rule
Restoration of Centralized Imperial Rule
  • After the Han Dynasty, several regional kingdoms made bids to assert their authority over all of China, but none possessed the resources necessary to dominate their rivals for the long term
  • In the late sixth century, Yang Jian was able to reestablish centralized rule
  • He was succeeded by the Tang and then Song Dynasties which organized Chinese society so effectively that China became a center of exceptional agricultural and industrial production that influenced much of the eastern hemisphere
characteristics of a civilization
Characteristics of a Civilization
  • Intensive agricultural techniques
  • Specialization of labor
  • Cities
  • A social hierarchy
  • Organized religion and education
  • Development of complex forms of economic exchange
  • Development of new technologies
  • Advanced development of the arts. (This can include writing.)
agriculture fast ripening rice
Agriculture: Fast-ripening rice
  • As Tang and Song armies ventured into Vietnam, they encountered fast-ripening rice
    • Allowed two crops per year
    • When introduced into the fertile fields of southern China, fast-ripening rice quickly expanded the food supply

Chinese characters for “rice field”

new agricultural techniques
New Agricultural Techniques
  • Heavy iron plows
  • Harnessed oxen and water buffaloes
  • Enriched soil with manure and composted organic matter
  • Extensive irrigation systems
    • Reservoirs, dikes, dams, pumps, water wheels
    • Artificial irrigation greatly increased agricultural production which led to a rapid population expansion

Southern Gate of Chang’an

  • Increased food supplies encouraged the growth of cities
  • During the Tang Dynasty, the imperial capital of Chang’an was the world’s most populous city
    • Perhaps two million residents
  • During the Song Dynasty, the capital of Hangzhou had over a million residents
    • Southern terminus of the Grand Canal
economic exchange
Economic Exchange

Coins from the Tang Dynasty

Yellow and Yangzi Rivers

economic exchange grand canal
Economic Exchange: Grand Canal
  • Grand Canal built during the Sui Dynasty (precursor to Tang)
    • One of the world’s largest waterworks projects before modern times
    • Built to facilitate trade between northern and southern China, particularly to make the abundant supplies of rice and other agricultural products from the Yangzi River valley available to residents of the northern regions
    • China’s rivers generally flow east to west so an artificial waterway had to be built to facilitate trade between north and south
economic exchange the grand canal
Economic Exchange: The Grand Canal
  • Linked Hangzhou in the south with Chang’an in the west and Zhou (near modern Beijing) in the north
  • Almost 1,240 miles, reportedly forty paces wide, with roads running parallel to the waterway on either side
  • Integrated the economies of northern and southern China which established an economic foundation for political and cultural unity
economic exchange letters of credit
Economic Exchange: Letters of Credit
  • Trade grew so rapidly during the Tang and Song era that copper coin shortages developed
    • Traders began issuing letters of credit (“flying cash”) as an alternative
    • Enabled merchants to deposit goods or cash at one location and draw the equivalent cash or merchandise somewhere else

Coin from Tang Dynasty

economic exchange paper money
Economic Exchange: Paper Money
  • The search for alternatives to cash also led to the invention of paper money
  • During the late ninth century, wealthy merchants began accepting cash from their clients and issuing them printed notes that the clients could redeem for merchandise
  • Greatly facilitated commercial transactions
economic exchange tea
Economic Exchange: Tea
  • Tea trading flourished during Tang and Song era
  • Tea was compressed into bricks and used as money

Agricultural Regional Areas of Specialization

  • Increased urbanization brought a host of specialized activities to the cities
    • Merchants, artisans, metallurgists, printers, chemists, craftsmen, textile workers, performers, restaurateurs, etc
  • China’s various regions specialized in the cultivation of particular food crops and traded their own products for imports from other regions
  • The government developed a specialized class of bureaucrats
social hierarchy
Social Hierarchy

Emperor Xuanzong of Tang China

Song examination candidate dreaming of the rewards of academic success

social hierarchy centralization
Social Hierarchy: Centralization
  • Tang society revolved around centralized imperial rule
  • Early successes based on
    • Well-articulated transportation and communication network (Grand Canal)
    • Equal-field system
    • Bureaucracy of merit
social hierarchy equal field system
Governed allocation of agricultural land

Ensured equal distribution of land to avoid the concentration of landed property that had caused social problems during the Han Dynasty

Land was allotted to individuals and their families according to the land’s fertility and the recipient’s needs

About one-fifth of the land became the hereditary possession of the recipients, while the rest was available for redistribution

Social Hierarchy: Equal-field System
social hierarchy bureaucracy of merit
Rulers recruited government officials from the ranks of candidates who had progressed through the Confucian educational system

Merit was based on performance on the imperial civil service examinations

Some powerful families were able to use their influence, but most officeholders won their posts on the basis of intellectual ability

Talented class of bureaucrats were generally loyal to the dynasty and worked to strengthen and preserve the state

Social Hierarchy: Bureaucracy of Merit
social hierarchy song bureaucracy
Social Hierarchy: Song Bureaucracy
  • Song rulers mistrusted the military so they placed more emphasis on civil administration
    • Scholar bureaucrats proved to have limited military expertise and Song was vulnerable to military aggression
  • Song increased centralization and built an enormous bureaucracy
    • Devoured China’s surplus production and strained the treasury
  • Efforts to raise taxes led to two peasant rebellions

Wang Anshi unsuccessfully attempted socioeconomic reforms during the Song era

religion and education
Religion and Education

Buddha from Tang Dynasty

religion and education1
Religion and Education
  • Buddhist merchants visited China as early as the second century B.C.
  • Found a popular following in Tang and Song China
  • Emphasized high standards of morality, intellectual sophistication, and a promise of salvation
  • We’ll talk more about Buddhism during Lesson 9 (Buddhism and Hinduism) and Lesson 23 (the Silk Roads)

A Buddhist monk

new technologies
New Technologies

Song porcelain

Cannon ca. 1368

new technologies porcelain
New Technologies: Porcelain
  • Tang craftsmen discovered how to produce porcelain which was lighter, thinner, and adaptable to more uses than earlier pottery
    • Strong enough and attractive enough to serve utilitarian or aesthetic purposes
  • Tang and Song products gained such a reputation that porcelain is commonly called “chinaware”

Tang Marble Glazed Porcelain Figure

new technologies printing
New Technologies: Printing

Book printing ca. 868

new technologies printing1
New Technologies: Printing
  • Became common in Tang era
  • Earliest printers used block-printing techniques
    • Carved a reverse image of an entire page into a wooden block, inked the block, then pressed a sheet of paper on top of it
  • By the mid-eleventh century, printers began to experiment with movable type
    • Fashioned dies in the shape of ideographs, arranged them in a frame, inked them, and pressed the frame over paper sheets
    • Speeded up the process and allowed printers to make revisions and corrections
    • Facilitated production and distribution of texts quickly, cheaply, and in large quantities
impact of movable type
Impact of Movable Type
  • Allowed large production and distribution of
    • Buddhist texts
    • Confucian works
    • Calendars
    • Agricultural treatises
    • Popular works
new technologies gunpowder
New Technologies: Gunpowder
  • During the Tang era, Daoist alchemists learned it was dangerous to mix charcoal, saltpeter, sulphur, and arsenic
    • Military officials saw possibilities
  • By the tenth-century, the Tang military was using gunpowder in bamboo “fire lances,” a kind of flame thrower and by the eleventh century they had made primitive bombs
art and writing
Art and Writing

Poet Li Bo

Poet Du Fu

art and writing1
Art and Writing
  • The ruling and elite classes of the Tang and Song Dynasties were major supporters of Chinese painting.
    • Sought elaborate and ornate art with political and educational significance
    • Stressed realism
art and writing2
Eighth Century was a golden age in Chinese poetry

Du Fu (712-770 A.D.) is often considered China’s greatest poet

Other great poets of the Tang era were Wang Wei (699 – 761) andLi Bo (701 – 762)

Passing the Night at Headquarters

Clear autumn at headquarters,wu-tung trees cold beside the well;

I spend the night alone in the river city, using up all of the candles.

Sad bugle notes sound through the long night as I talk to myself;

glorious moon hanging in mid-sky but who looks?

Art and Writing
next lesson
Next Lesson
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