Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties Miss Fisk
Yang Jiang (Sui Wen Di): The First Sui Emperor Sui Wen Di, who had been a leader of the Northern Zhou, Went on a mission to unite China and reigned from 581-604 AD. His capital city was Chang’an. Major Accomplishments: - Conquered Northern Zhou and Chen dynasties, united China for first time in four centuries - Repaired Great Wall - Grand Canal system linking fertile central region with northern plain - Expeditions to check on Turks on Central Asian steppe - Son and successor: Yang Guang (Sui Yang Di, Yang Kuang, Sui Yang Ti) lost the money Yang Jiang had built up, lots of revolts, assassinated in 618, causes collapse
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
Sui to T’ang Dynasty • The Sui Dynasty was short-lived but important because it unified China and paved the way for the Tang Dynasty • The Tang Dynasty was one of the most glorious periods in Chinese history. Culture flourished, government was well organized, and the country was unified.
T’ang Dynasty • Li Yuan (Pictured right) reigned from 618-626 when he abdicated in order to let his ambitious son, Taizong, reign
T’ang Rulers • Taizong (Pictured left) reigned from 627-649. His • Reign marked the blossoming of the Tang era and he is recognized as one of the greatest leaders in Chinese history. During his rule, Chinese influence was extended to Afghanistan and Turkistan as well as south to Tibet.
T’ang Rulers • Taizong was succeeded by Gaozong, who reigned from 649-683. • Gaozong brought Korea and Japan into tributary relationship with China. • Empress Wu, his wife, continued this consolidation. • Then Tang Xuansongreigned from 712-756. • Under Xuanzong, military commanders began to establish independent authority and central administration declined, • As did the empire due to border wars and rebellions.
Economy during the T’ang • 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 • Paper money was invented during the T’ang
Urbanization Leads to 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
T’ang Successes • Early successes based on • Well-articulated transportation and communication network (Grand Canal) • Equal-field system • Bureaucracy of merit
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
Bureaucratic 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
Song Dynasty • Age of autocracy • Emperors had direct personal control over more offices than Tang predecessors • Central government better funded • Monopolies on salt, wine, tea • Commerce as vital source of revenues • Disappearance of the aristocracy • Officials were commoners • Mostly products of the examination system