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China’s Golden Age Dynasty’s. The Sui, the T’ang and the Song (Sung). What is a Golden Age?. A time or period, in a specific culture or civilization: of “peace, harmony, stability, and prosperity (wikipedia)”

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china s golden age dynasty s

China’s Golden Age Dynasty’s

The Sui, the T’ang and the Song (Sung)

what is a golden age
What is a Golden Age?
  • A time or period, in a specific culture or civilization:
  • of “peace, harmony, stability, and prosperity (wikipedia)”
  • “of great happiness, prosperity, and achievement (merriam-webster online dictionary)”
  • “where enlightenment, achievement, and/or advancement is at its height (me :)”
What other civilization’s experienced a Golden Age? And what achievements or advancements are proof of this?
  • What is the opposite of a Golden Age?
when was china sgolden age
When was China’sGOLDEN AGE?

Sui dynasty (A.D. 581-617)

Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220)

T’ang dynasty (A.D. 618-907)

Song (Sung) dynasty


  • On the handout are descriptions of things invented in China during the Han, Sui, Tang and Song Dynasty’s.
  • Read each one and try to figure out which invention or advancement is being described.
They improved canals and roads.

They set up granaries across the empire.

They reorganized finances.

They imposed a government monopolyon iron and salt.

They opened up the Silk Road, a trade route linking China and the West.

They made Confucianism the official belief of the state.

They relied on well-educated scholars to run the government.

They used a civil service exam to find the most qualified officials.




Han rulers strengthened the economy and government of China.

the han golden age
The Han Golden Age



Wrote texts on chemistry, zoology, and botany.

Measured movements of stars and planets.

Invented seismograph to measure earthquakes.

Diagnosed diseases.

Used herbal remedies and other drugs for treatments.

Developed anesthetics.

Explored uses of acupuncture.



Made paper out of wood pulp.

Pioneered advanced methods of shipbuilding.

Invented the rudder, fishing reels, wheelbarrows, and suspension bridges.

Built grand temples and palaces.

Produced jade and ivory carvings and ceramic figures.

Improved bronzeworking and silkmaking techniques.


Han China made such tremendous advances in so many fields, that the Chinese later called themselves “the people of Han.”

fall of the han
Fall of the Han
  • Perfect example of a “fall” within a dynastic cycle
  • Ushered in the Era of the Three Kingdoms

- Civil War (220-589)

time of the three kingdoms
Time of the Three Kingdoms

The Three Kingdoms era began in 220 AD. After the Han dynasty fell, three powerful states began a war for power and control over China. The three states were the Wu state, Wei state, and Shu-Han state. The three main leaders during this war was Cao Pi of the Wei State, Liu Bei of the Shu-han state, and Sun Quan, the son of Sun Jian of the Wu state. These three people were the kings of their states.

three kingdoms
Three Kingdoms

China’s Dark Ages?

Sort of!

  • Sinicization of non-Han Chinese groups
  • Growing popularity of Buddhism
  • Inventions (like gunpowder)
  • Advances in medicine (surgery) and other areas
the sui a d 581 617
The Sui(A.D. 581-617)
  • Ruthless and tyrannical (comparable to that of Qin)
  • High tax burden and mandatory labor and conscription for:
      • Maintenance and extensions of the Great Wall
      • Building of the Grand Canal
      • Unsuccessful wars to conquer the rest of the Korean peninsula and Vietnam
  • As a result: Sui emperor assassinated and a leading noble took power and began the Tang dynasty
  • But……….
the t ang a d 618 907
The T’ang (A.D. 618-907)

Considered by historians as the climax or height of China’s Golden Age and even Chinese civilization!

Empress Wu

Diamond Sutra

Major achievements in Literature and Art

-Diamond Sutra

- Li Bo and Du Fu (Literature - Poetry)

(made possible by which invention? That also made “paper money” possible!)

  • Read excerpts from Li Bo and Du Fu.
  • Compare/contrast the writings of Li Bo and Du Fu.
  • What can their writings tell us about life in China during the Tang?
  • What can a country’s Art tell a historian?
collapse of the t ang
Collapse of the T’ang
  • Ah the perils of love!

Consort Yang



  • Civilian rule (by scholars appointed by the Emperor and his scholar advisors) replaced military governors (even in the provinces)
  • New classes developed:

-Gentry (landowning scholars)

-Merchant class (educated business owners)

  • As a result
    • Economy grew
    • Land and government were no longer the only means of attaining wealth and prestige
    • Confucianism returned (known as Neo-Confucianism)!!! Why?

(- there was a synthesis of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism as a result in Civil Svc exam and culture too)

  • Conclusion: The Song dynasty “fine-tuned” the developments of the former dynasties!
  • But……….
fall of the song
Fall of the Song
  • What would be the price for such concentration on internal and domestic developments? And on education and scholarship?
  • The barbarians in the north pushed the Song dynasty south to the Yangtze River
  • The Mongols also were unifying under the leadership of the man pictured below and were tempted by the wealth of the Song