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East Asia. 500 to 1000 CE. China 500-1000 CE. Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties

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East asia

East Asia

500 to 1000 CE

China 500 1000 ce
China 500-1000 CE

  • Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties

  • During this period, Chinese dynasties brought about significant improvements in food production and distribution, which resulted in an increase in population, rise of urbanization, and specialization in various technologies.


  • 220 CE: Collapse of Han dynasty

  • During last two centuries of Han rule, large landowners gained influence in the government. They reduced their own taxes and raised the taxes of the peasant. There was massive discontent and rebellion.

  • Han military generals took power, aligning themselves with regional landowners as war lords.

  • Han dynasty dissolved in region ruled by war lords.

Decline of confucianism
Decline of Confucianism

  • During Han dynasty, elites and intellectuals embraced Confucian traditions.

  • Confucian traditions were believed to ensure social order and stability.

  • With collapse of Han dynasty and disintegration of China into warring states, interest in Confucianism lessened.

East asia

  • 589-618 CE

  • Founded by Yang Jian, who had established himself as a powerful regional warlord.

  • Conquered other warlords and reunited China.

  • Sui dynasty established power using legalistic means similar to those of Qin Shihuaungdi.

  • Strong central government, harsh rules, forced labor.

Sui dynasty innovations
Sui Dynasty innovations

  • Transportation and communications network

  • Distribution of land: equal field system

  • Government bureaucracy based on merit.

  • Grand Canal: to facilitate trade between northern and southern China and to make abundant food supplies in south available to north

East asia

  • 627-907 CE: Expanded territory

  • Tried to establish a Confucian, beneficent government. Stressed Confucian education and civil service.

  • Improved on developments during Sui dynasty:

  • Transportation and communications network

  • Distribution of land: equal field system: problems: rise in population, bribery by wealthy, land given to Buddhist monasteries.

  • Government bureaucracy based on merit.

Tang foreign relations
Tang Foreign Relations

  • Tributary relationship with neighboring lands.

  • Neighbor recognized Chinese emperors as overlords.

  • Paid tribute in form of gifts

  • Kowtow: ritual prostration before emperor.

  • Chinese gave gifts and recognition in return.

End of tang dynasty
End of Tang Dynasty

  • Tang dynasty declined in power due to ineffective leadership by later emperors.

  • Rebellions occurred and emperors gradually gave over control to regional war lords.

  • War lords controlled separate regions until Song dynasty reestablished centralized rule.

Song taizu r 960 976
Song Taizu (r.960-976)

  • Junior military officer of one of the most powerful war lords in China.

  • Song had a reputation for honesty and effectiveness

  • In 960 his troops proclaimed him emperor.

  • Song and his troops subdued the other war lords.

Song dynasty
Song Dynasty

  • 960-1279 CE

  • Did not develop into a powerful state.

  • Emperors kept military in a subordinate position.

  • Did not develop into a powerful militaristic state.

  • Focused on civil administration, industry, education, and the arts instead of military.

  • Created a large bureaucracy.

End of song dynasty
End of Song Dynasty

  • Massive bureaucracy created strain on economy, raised taxes, and angered the peasants.

  • Lack of strong military allowed nomadic peoples to gain power. Nomadic Mongol tribes invaded, ending dynasty in 1279.

Social aspects of tang and song periods
Social aspects of Tang and Song periods

  • Agricultural advancements

  • Population growth

  • Division of labor

  • Specialization of crafts

  • Innovations in techniques and new inventions.

  • Changes in religion.

Agricultural development in tang and song periods
Agricultural development in Tang and Song Periods

  • Improvements in farming

  • Heavy iron plows

  • Oxen and water buffaloes

  • Fertilized fields

  • Irrigation systems

  • Well organized food distribution system

Populations expansion
Populations Expansion

  • Increased food supply resulted in rapid rise in population.

  • Growth of cities

  • Chang’an believed to be the world’s largest city with estimated population of two million during Tang dynasty.

  • By Song Dynasty, China most urbanized area in the world.


  • Abundant food supply allowed division of labor.

  • Specialization in technological areas

  • Improved existing technologies and invented new products.

Innovations in china
Innovations in China

  • Paper

  • Printing

  • Letters of credit/ cash

  • Gunpowder/ explosives

  • The magnetic compass

  • Porcelain, fine china.

  • Improvements in production of iron and steel

Religious philosophical traditions
Religious/Philosophical Traditions

  • Sects honoring family ancestors.

  • Legalist, Confucian, Daoist philosophies.

  • Confucianism had declined with collapse of Han dynasty, but saw a come back during this period.