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Chapter 10. The Resurgence of Empire in East Asia. The Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE). Regional kingdoms succeed collapse of Han dynasty – Era of the 6 Dynasties! Introduction and acceptance of Mahayana Buddhism Yang Jian/Sui Yangdi consolidates control of all of China, initiates Sui Dynasty

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chapter 10

Chapter 10

The Resurgence of Empire in East Asia

the sui dynasty 581 618 ce
The Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE)
  • Regional kingdoms succeed collapse of Han dynasty – Era of the 6 Dynasties!
  • Introduction and acceptance of Mahayana Buddhism
  • Yang Jian/Sui Yangdi consolidates control of all of China, initiates Sui Dynasty
  • Massive building projects – canals
    • Military labor
    • Conscripted labor
the grand canal
The Grand Canal
  • Intended to promote trade between north and south China
    • Most Chinese rivers flow west-east
  • Linked network of earlier canals
    • 2000k (1240 miles)
    • Roads on either bank
  • Succeeded only by railroad traffic in 20th century
the tang dynasty 618 907 ce
The Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE)
  • Wide discontent over conscripted labor in Sui dynasty
  • Military failures in Korea prompt rebellion
  • Emperor assassinated in 618
    • Tang Dynasty initiated
tang taizong
Tang Taizong
  • Second emperor of Tang dynasty (r. 627-649 CE)
  • Murdered two brothers, thrust father aside to take throne
  • Strong ruler
    • Built capital at Chang’an
    • Law and order
    • Taxes, prices low
    • More effective implementation of earlier Sui policies
major achievements of tang dynasty
Major achievements of Tang Dynasty
  • Transportation and communications
    • Extensive postal, courier services
  • Equal-field System
    • 20% of land hereditary ownership
    • 80% redistributed according to formula
      • Family size, land fertility
    • Worked well until 8th century
      • Corruption, loss of land to Buddhist monasteries
bureaucracy of merit
Bureaucracy of Merit
  • Imperial civil service examinations
    • Confucian educational curriculum
  • Some bribery, nepotism
  • But most advance through merit
    • Built loyalty to the dynasty
    • System remains strong until early 20th century
tang military expansion and foreign relations
Tang Military Expansion and Foreign Relations
  • Manchuria, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet
  • First occupation of Tibet by China
  • One of the largest expansions of China in its history
  • Established tributary relationships
    • Gifts
  • China as “Middle Kingdom”
    • The kowtow ritual
tang decline
Tang Decline
  • Governmental neglect: Emperor obsessed with music, favorite concubine
  • 755 rebellion under An Lushan, former military commander
  • Captures Chang’an, but rebellion crushed by 763
  • Nomadic Uighur mercenaries invited to suppress rebellion,
  • Uighurs are defeated by the Kirghiz who sacked Chang’an and Luoyang
  • Tang decline continues, rebellions in 9th century, last emperor abdicates 907
song dynasty 960 1279 ce
Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE)
  • Emphasis on administration, industry, education, the arts
  • Military not emphasized
  • Direction of first emperor, Song Taizu (r. 960-976 CE)
    • Former military leader
    • Made emperor by troops
    • Instituted policy of imperial favor for civil servants, expanded meritocracy
song weaknesses
Song Weaknesses
  • Size of bureaucracy heavy drain on economy
    • Two peasant rebellions in 12th c.
    • Internal inertia prevents reform of bureaucracy
  • Civil service leadership of military
    • Lacked military training
    • Unable to contain nomadic attacks
    • Jurchen conquer, force Song dynasty to Hangzhou, southern China (Southern Song)
    • Song try to work with the Mongols only to be defeated in battle as the Song were internally factional and suffered from losses in tax revenues
    • Yuan Dynasty (Mongol)
agricultural economies of the tang and song dynasties
Agricultural Economies of the Tang and Song Dynasties
  • Developed Vietnamese fast-ripening rice, 2 crops per year
  • Technology: iron plows, use of draft animals
  • Soil fertilization, improved irrigation
    • Water wheels, canals
  • Terrace farming
chinese political structure
Chinese Political Structure
  • Using information from Chapter 11 Pages 268-9 design a pictorial reference of the Chinese political system. These are to be detailed sketches of the growth of the system.
  • Add to notes.
population growth
Population Growth
  • Result of increased agricultural production
  • Effective food distribution system
    • Transportation networks built under Tang and Song dynasties
  • Chang’an world’s most populous city: 2 million residents
    • Southern Song capital Hangzhou: over 1 million
    • Several cities over 100,000
patriarchal social structures
Patriarchal Social Structures
  • Increased emphasis on ancestor worship
    • Elaborate grave rituals
    • Extended family gatherings in honor of deceased ancestors
  • Footbinding gains popularity
    • Increased control by male family members
technology and industry
Technology and Industry
  • Porcelain (“Chinaware”)
  • Increase of iron production due to use of coke, not coal, in furnaces
    • Agricultural tools, weaponry
  • Gunpowder invented
  • Earlier printing techniques refined
    • Moveable type by mid-11th century
    • Yet complex Chinese ideographs make wood block technique easier
  • Naval technology
emergence of a market economy
Emergence of a Market Economy
  • “Flying cash:” letters of credit developed to deal with copper coin shortages
    • Promissory notes, checks also used
  • Development of independently produced paper money
    • Not as stable, riots when not honored
  • Government claims monopoly on money production in 11th century
china and the hemispheric economy
China and the Hemispheric Economy
  • Increasingly cosmopolitan nature of Chinese cities
  • Chinese silk opens up trade routes, but increases local demands for imported luxury goods
cultural change in tang and song china
Cultural Change in Tang and Song China
  • Declining confidence in Confucianism after collapse of Han dynasty
  • Increasing popularity of Buddhism
  • Christianity, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, Islam also appear
  • Clientele primarily foreign merchant class
  • Mahayana Buddhism especially popular in western China (Gansu province), 600-1000 CE
  • Buddhist temples, libraries
  • Economic success as converts donate land holdings
  • Increase popularity through donations of agricultural produce to the poor
conflicts with chinese culture

Text-based (Buddhist teachings)

Emphasis on Metaphysics

Ascetic ideal




Text-based (Confucian teachings)

Daoism not text-based

Emphasis on ethics, politics



Filial piety

Conflicts with Chinese Culture
chan zen buddhism
Chan (Zen) Buddhism
  • Buddhists adapt ideology to Chinese climate
    • Dharma translated as dao
    • Nirvana translated as wuwei
  • Accommodated family lifestyle
    • “one son in monastery for ten generations of salvation”
  • Limited empahsis on textual study, meditation instead
persecution of buddhists
Persecution of Buddhists
  • Daoist/Confucian persecution supported in late Tang dynasty
  • 840s begins systematic closure of Buddhist temples, expulsions
    • Zoroastrians, Christians, Manicheans as well
  • Economic motive: seizure of large monastic landholdings
neo confucianism
  • Song dynasty refrains from persecuting Buddhists, but favors Confucians
  • Neo-Confucians influenced by Buddhist thought
  • Zhu Xi (1130-1200 CE) important synthesizer
  • Popular to 20th century
china and korea
China and Korea
  • Silla Dynasty: Tang armies withdraw, Korea recognizes Tang as emperor
  • Technically a vassal statue, but highly independent
  • Chinese influence on Korean culture pervasive
china and vietnam
China and Vietnam
  • Vietnamese adaptation to Chinese culture, technology
  • But ongoing resentment at political domination
  • Assert independence when Tang dynasty falls in 10th century
china and early japan
China and Early Japan
  • Chinese armies never invade Japan
  • Yet Chinese culture pervasive
  • Imitation of Tang administration
    • Establishment of new capital at Nara, hence “Nara Japan” (710-794 CE)
  • Adoption of Confucian, Buddhist teachings
  • Yet retention of Shinto religion
heian japan 794 1185 ce
Heian Japan (794-1185 CE)
  • Japanese emperor moves court to Heian (Kyoto)
  • Yet emperor figurehead, real power in hands of Fujiwara clan
    • Pattern in Japanese history: weak emperor, power behind the throne
    • Helps explain longevity of the institution
japanese literature
Japanese Literature
  • Influence of Chinese kanji characters
    • Classic curriculum dominated by Chinese
  • Development of hiragana, katakana syllabic alphabet
  • Court life: The Tale of Genji
    • Written by woman with weak command of Chinese, becomes classic of early Japanese literature
institution of the shogun
Institution of the Shogun
  • Civil war between Taira and Minamoto clans in 12th century
  • Minamoto leader named shogun, 1185 CE
  • Ruled from Kamakura, allowed imperial throne to continue in Kyoto
medieval japan
Medieval Japan
  • Kamakura (1185-1333 CE) and Muromachi (1336-1573 CE) periods
  • Decentralized power in hands of warlords
  • Military authority in hands of samurai
  • Professional warriors