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Sui-Tang-Song China
Chinese Regionalism
 220-589 (Post HanSui)
 A time of political
division, economic
turmoil, and social
 Regional Kingdoms:
“Era of Division” 220589 C.E.
Nomadic Invasions
Endless wars amongst rival kingdoms
Re-emergence of rule by aristocrats
Decline of Bureaucracy
Decline of Confucianism
Rise of Buddhism
Economic decline
Great Wall divided
Technological stagnation
…it was bad.
China’s turbulent
 Conquest and rule my non-Chinese peoples
(Barbarians) shocked the Chinese.
 Huns and Xiongnu eroded the frontier defenses.
Confucianism in the
Regional Era
 Confucianism: stressed ideas and practices that
promoted social etiquette, family values, and
political stability.
 These ideas were criticized for their failure and their
value during the regional era.
 Regional monarchs began to “re-embrace” the value
system, while scholars often condemned its
The Re-unification of
China under the Sui
Re-emergence of Empire: Sui
Dynasty 589-618 C.E.
 Founded by Yang Jian
 Valued Chin style
leadership with tight
political control.
 Used propaganda
 Conquered southern
China in a Naval War
Return to Chin ways
 Harsh, codified laws
 Standardized everything
 Written test for office holders
 Beginnings of civil service exam
 Refusal to serve in areas of birth
 “eyes and ears of the ruler”
 Elaborate building projects such as the capital
Changan during the Sui
Emperor Yangdi and the Grand
 Aka Yang Guang
 Great achievement: the
Grand Canal
 Purpose
Fall of the Sui
 A short lived dynasty: 589-618 C.E
 Despite the overwhelming success of the state
economically as a result of the Grand Canal.
 Failed campaigns of conquest into Korea and against
Central Asian Turks
 Relentless taxes to support these campaigns
The Tang Dynasty
 Founded by Li Yuan
 China’s Greatest
Dynasty? Golden Age?
 “Qin-Han, Sui-Tang”
Tang Taizong
 Ambitious, Ruthless,
arguably China’s
greatest emperor.
 Believed in a
Confucian, Chin, yet
benevolent state.’
 Stable, peaceful,
Reasons for Tang
 1. Well articulated roads and communication
networks. (Canals)
 2. Equal field distribution system of land sharing
 3. Reliance on a very highly skilled bureaucracy
governed by a civil service exam.
Civil Service Exam
Tang Conquest
 Brought
Manchuria, the
Silla Kingdom of
Korea, Vietnam,
and as far west as
the Aral Sea
(Russia) under
their control.
Tang Decline
 Incapable emperors
 Dynastic wars (Du Fu)
 An Lushan Rebellion
 Talas River Battle of 751
 Loss of Silk Roads
 Transfer of Power to
 Buddhist Crisis of the
mid 9th Century.
 The Late Tang period saw individual armies loyal to
their warlords dominating Chinese life.
 Period between the Tang and Song Age saw a return
to regionalism. With non-Chinese peoples ruling
North China.
 907-960 China was dominated by Political
Fragmentation and Rivalry.
The Song Dynasty
 Song contradiction
 Early political
stability: 960-1127
 Effective
 Civil Bureaucracy
 Founded by Zhao
 Drunken generals
Song Shortcomings and
 Military weakness
 Economic costs of Bureaucracy
 Taxation issues
 Peasant woes
 Rise of nomads-The Khitan, Jurchen, and the
Song split
Song Demise
 1215: lost control to Jin Dynasty
 Reverted to control Southern China
 1279 Southern Song crushed by Mongols.
Tang/Song Culture
 Neo-Confucianism
 Wang Anshi: political and economic innovations
 Metaphysical (being) school of Zu Xi
 Good v. Evil: Confucian study and Buddhist meditation
can treat evil.
 His work will be studied and admired for a millenium.
Tang/Song Economics
 “Champa” Rice:
 Porcelain
 Metallurgy
 Paper production
 “Flying Cash”
 Urbanization
Japanese Characteristics
 Geography?
 Comparison with Greece?
 Warrior Aristorcarcy
 Rigid society
 5% of the population was slave
 Hundreds of early political units
 Clan based society governed by warrior chieftans
 Early socieity: Yamato Clan
 Religious beliefs: Shinto-the Way of the Gods
 Early Buddhism
 Deficits of Shinto faith
 Diffusion of things Chinese
 Seventeen Article Constitution-Buddhist and
Confucian document
 Taika Reforms-attempt to recreate a Confucian style
system in Japan (Exam, Bureaucracy)
Nara Japan (710-794
 The earliest inhabitants of Japan were nomadic
peoples from northeast Asia
 Ruled by several dozen states by the middle of the
first millennium C.E.
 Inspired by the Tang example, one clan claimed
imperial authority over others
 Built a new capital (Nara) in 710 C.E., modeled on
 Adopted Confucianism and Buddhism, but
maintained their Shinto rites
Heian Japan
 Heian Japan (794-1185 C.E.)
 Moved to new capital, Heian (modern
Kyoto), in 794
 Japanese emperors as ceremonial
figureheads and symbols of authority
 Effective power in the hands of the
Fujiwara family
 Emperor did not rule, which explains
the longevity of the imperial house
 Chinese learning dominated Japanese
education and political thought
 Buddhism exploded during this time,
despite a strong reaction against it.
Heian Decline
 Feuds amongst the great families
 Local ambitions and political
 War between the Taira and
Minamoto clans
 Rise of Samurai class
 Rise of Yorimotoa Minamoto as
Shogun (Kamakura Shogunate)
Japanese Cultural
 Began to make their mark in
 Murasaki Shikibu-a female
courtess during the Heian Age
wrote the Tale of Genji.
 A story of court life and
personality of Japanese during
the age.
 First novel in human history
Decline of Heian Japan
 The equal-field system began to fail
 Aristocratic clans accumulated most land
 Taira and Minamoto, the two most powerful clans,
engaged in wars
 Clan leader of Minamoto claimed title shogun,
military governor; ruled in Kamakura