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Chapter 12. Reunification and Renaissance in Chinese Civilization: The Era of the Tang and Song Dynasties. The Sui-Tang Era. Wendi, a member of a prominent Chinese noble family, struck a marriage alliance between his daughter and the ruler of the Zhou empire

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chapter 12

Chapter 12

Reunification and Renaissance in Chinese Civilization: The Era of the Tang and Song Dynasties

the sui tang era
The Sui-Tang Era
  • Wendi, a member of a prominent Chinese noble family, struck a marriage alliance between his daughter and the ruler of the Zhou empire
  • Seized the empire of his son-in-law and proclaimed himself emperor
  • Further strengthened by his son Yangdi, who murdered his father to reach throne
  • When Yangdi was assassinated, it looked as if China would return to the state of political division
  • This led to the emergence of the Tang and the restoration of the Empire
the tang dynasty
The Tang dynasty
  • Li Yuan and his second son, Tang Taizong, laid the basis for the golden age of the Tang
  • Tang armies conquered deep into central Asia as far as present-day Afghanistan
  • Tang emperors completed repairs begun by the Sui and earlier dynasties on the Great Wall and created frontier armies
  • The frontier armies gradually became most potent military units in the empire
  • The sons of Turkic tribal leaders were sent to the capital as hostages to guarantee good behavior of the tribe in question
  • At the Tang capital, they were educated in Chinese ways in the hope of their eventual assimilation into Chinese culture
the tang dynasty1
The Tang Dynasty
  • The empire extended into Tibet in the west, the Red River valley homeland of the Vietnamese in the south, and Manchuria in the north
  • The Yangtze River basin and much of the south were fully integrated with north China for the first time since the Han
  • The Tang had a larger empire than the Han whose boundaries were beyond present-day China
the tang dynasty2
The Tang Dynasty
  • Political power in China was shared by a succession of imperial families and bureaucrats of the civil service system
  • Members of the hereditary aristocracy continued to occupy administrative positions, but the scholar-gentry class staffed most of the posts in  the secretariats and executive department that oversaw a huge bureaucracy
  • One secratariat drafted imperial decrees; another monitored the reports of regional and provincial officials and the petitions of local natables
  • Executive department was divided into six ministries
growing importance of the examination system
Growing Importance of the Examination System
  • The numbers of the educated scholar-gentry rose in the Tang era
  • The examination system was greatly expanded
  • The Ministry of Rites administered several kinds of examinations to students from government schools or those recommended by distinguished scholars
  • Those who passed the latter earned the title of jinshi
  • The jinshis’ families’ positions were secured by the prospect of high office that was opened by their success
  • Even though Tang bureaucrats won their positions through success in civil service exams, birth and family connections continued to be important in securing high office
  • Ethic and regional ties played a role in staffing bureaucratic departments
state and religion
State and Religion
  • Many of the rulers in the pre-Tang era were devout Buddhists and strong patrons of the Buddhist establishment
  • The combination of royal patronage and widespread conversion at both the elite and mass levels made Buddhism a strong, economic, and political force
  • No Tang ruler matched Empress Wu in supporting the Buddhist establishment
  • By the mid-9th century, there were nearly 50,000 monastaries and hundreds of thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns in China
the anti buddhist backlash
The Anti-Buddhist Backlash
  • Daoist monks tried to counter Buddhism’s appeals to the masses by stressing their own magical and predictive powers
  • The growing campaign of Confucian scholar-administrators was most damaging to Buddhism
  • Because monastic lands and resources were not taxed, the Tang regime lost huge amounts of revenue
  • The state denied labor power because it could not tax or conscript peasants
the anti buddhist backlash1
The Anti-Buddhist Backlash
  • State fears of Buddhist wealth and power led to measures to limit the flow of land and resources to the monastic orders
  • Under Emperor Wuzong, these restrictions grew to open persecution of Buddhism
  • Chinese Buddhism weakened
  • The great age of Buddhist painting and cave sculptures gave way to art dominated by Daoist and Confucian subjects and styles in the late Tang nad the Song dyanstic era that followed
  • Buddhism left its mark on the arts, the Chinese language, and Chinese thinking about things like heaven, charity, and law
tang decline
Tang Decline
  • After the controversial but strong rule by Empress Wu, a second attempt to control the throne was made by a highborn woman who married into the family
  • Empress Wei poisoned her husband, and placed her child on the throne
  • Her attempt was thwarted by another prince, who led a revolt that ended her and her supported
the song dynasty
The Song Dynasty
  • Tang and the Song ruled from the early 7th century  to the late 13th century.
  • Hangzhou is the capitol of the Song rulers.
  • By late Song times, Hangzhou had more than a million and a half residents and was famed for its wealth, cleanliness, and the number and variety of diversions it offered.
  • The good life in cities such as Hangzhou was made possible by the large, well-educated bureaucracy that had governed China for centuries.
  • Centralized control and a strong military brought long periods of peace, during which the ruling elites promoted technological innovation, agrarian expansion, and commercial enterprise at both home and overseas
the song dynasty1
The Song Dynasty
  • Zhao, renamed Taizu, founded the Song dynasty, which was to rule for the next 3 centuries.
  • Liao dynasty was founded by the Khitan people.
  • The dynasty was plagued.
  • Beginning in 1004, the song were forced by military defeats at the hand of Khitans to sign a series of treaties with the northern neighbors.
  • The treaties committed the Song to pay a heavy tribute to the Liao dynasty to keep it from raiding and keep it from conquering the Song domains.
  • The Khitans saw the Song dynasty culturally superior
the song dynasty2
The Song Dynasty
  • The early Song rulers promoted the interests of the Confucian scholar-gentry.
  • Exams were given every 3 years at 3 levels: district, provincial, and imperial.
  • Song examiners passed a far higher percentage than the Tang examiners.
the song dynasty3
The Song Dynasty
  • Zhu Xi stressed the importance o applying philosophical principals to everyday life and action.
  • Neo-Confucians believed that cultivating personal mortality was the highest goal for humans.
  • The Neo-Confucian emphasis on rank, obligation, deference, and traditional rituals reinforced class, age, and gender distinctions, particularly as they were expressed in occupational roles.
  • They believed that historical experience was the best guide for navigating the uncertain terrain of the future.
the song dynasty4
The Song Dynasty
  • By mid 11th-century, Tangut tribes had established a kingdom named Xi Xia.
  • For protection, The Song had to pay a great drain on the resources of the empire and a growing burden for the Chinese peasantry. 
  • The cost of the army was burdensome
  • In, addition weapons needed upgraded, and fortifications needed repaired.
  • In the 1070s and early 1080s, Wang Anshi tried to ward off the impending collapse of the dynasty by introducing sweeping reforms.
  • Wang tried to correct the grave defects in the imperial order.
  • Wang introduced cheap loans and government-assisted  irrigation projects.
  • He taxed landlords and scholarly classes.
  • Wang tried to reorganize university education and reorient the examination system.
the song dynasty5
The Song Dynasty
  • In 1085, the Shenzong emperor died.
  • The Neo-Confucians came to power ended reform, and reserved many of Wang's initiatives.
  • In 1115, the Jurchens overthrew the Liao dynasty of the Khitans and established the Jin kingdom.
  • After successful invasions of the Song territory, the Jurchens annexed most of the Yellow River basin to what had become the Qin empire. 
  • These conquests forced the Sonf to flee to the south. 
  • Southern Song dynasty (1167- 1279).
the song dynasty6
The Song Dynasty
  • The Grand Canal was designed to link the original centers of Chinese civilization on the north China plain with the Yangtze River basin.
  • The Grand Canal was intended to facilitate control over the southern regions by courts, bureaucracies, and armies centered in ancient imperial centers.
  • By the time the Grand Canal was finished, more than a million forced laborers had worked, and many had died, on its locks and embankments.