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11 Reading Notes
Chapter Title: Reunification and Renaissance in Chinese Civilization: The Era of the Tang and Song Dynasties Chronology (time period & major events):

(220-589 CE) (960-1279 CE)

-Era of Division -Tang Dynasty -Period of Buddhist Tang - Song Dynasty; -Mongol (Yuan)

(618-907 CE) (1279-1368 CE)


(907 CE)
- End of the

(589-618 CE) Neo-Confucianism dynasty rules -Sui Dynasty; Grand Canal revived all of China



Significant Characteristics & Developments: -position of women: began to decline in late Song; some protection rights Social


Economi c


divorce/marriage rights; were expected to stay at home and take care of children; pop culture of China promoted virginity for brides, fidelity for wives, against widows remarrying; footbinding -men more dominant and had more power: could lose their virginity when they wanted, could have multiple concubines and wives, and remarry as many times as he can afford -wealthy woman in cities were very independent & were allowed to have contemporary husbands -harsh punishments for children who disobeyed their parents -inequality between genders Tang: greatly expanded bureaucracy, used vassals to govern distance lands, reinforced the civil service exams Song: paid tributes to invaders, civil officials only allowed to be governors; military commanders rotated; promoted interests of Confucian scholar-gentry-> civil service exams routinized (every 3 years at 3 levels), officials salaries increased -centralized empire: alliance with nomadic invaders, united traditional core areas of Chinese Civilization, lowered taxes; and stored food in case of famine. -Sui downfall: programs hurt aristocratic families and nomadic leaders, built palaces and canal links, extensive game park (imported trees), failed in attempt to take Korea -commercial revolution <- growth of cities and towns, canals - growth of cities and town -> commercial expansion - Governments supervised hours/marketing methods at trade centers -merchants banded together in guilds -deposit shops found throughout empire -mostly exported manufactured goods: silk textiles, porcelain, paper -mostly imported luxury products; Persian rugs, tapestries, horses -banks and paper money(credit vouchers, flying monkey) -state-regulated irrigation/canals -break up land of aristocracy -supported military garrisons from rural areas -Hangzhou: great urban center -Confucian influence vs. Buddhist -poetry: celebrated natural world -Neo-Confucianism: revival of Confucian thought; drafted many laws to confine women to the home; hostile to foreign philosophies; focus on tradition; contact with wise people; personal observation; virtue attained through book reading; highest goal-> personal morality -Buddhism: promoted career opportunities for women such as working in monasteries -paintings: symbolic (philosophical or taught lessons) and abstract (subtlety and suggestion); painted landscapes(mostly by scholars)~everyday life replace devotional objects


-architecture: Bridges arches, segmented, suspension, trussed forms used today; Grand canal(transportation for people and goods); curved roofs meant status; yellow/green tiles; pagodas; monasteries -entertainment: boating, singing girls, bath houses, acrobats, restaurants, tea houses, opera performances (Tang) gunpowder, explosives ;(Song) compass for sea navigation -wheel barrow; canals; dikes; dams; fertilizer manure; introduction of new seeds> expand agricultural production -grenades, flamethrowers, poisonous gases, rocket launchers - new canals -> increase in international trade -invading Mongols -> end of Song Dynasty; invasion of Jurches-> Song moves south

Key People or Individuals (briefly identify):

-Wendi: a ruler of a state in China during a divided period, became the first Sui emperor. -Yangdi: Second member of Sui dynasty; murdered his father to gain throne; restored the Confucian examination system; responsible for construction of the canal systems. -Li Yuan: duke of tang; took over empire following assassination of Yangdi; first emperor of Tang dynasty; took imperial title of Gaozu. -Kaozong: Tang emperor (668 CE); overran Korea with armies; vassal kingdom, Silla, established. -Empress Wu (690-705 CE): a huge support in establishing Buddhism; commissioned many Buddhist paintings and sculptures. -Wuzong (841-847 CE): Chinese emperor of Tang dynasty who openly persecuted Buddhism by destroying monasteries in 840s; reduced the influence of Chinese Buddhism in favor of Confucian ideology. -Emperor Xuanzong (713-756): Tang ruler; marked the peak of Tang power and the high point of Chinese civilization. -Yang Guifei: Young woman belonging to harem of a Tang prince; raised to status of royal concubine during reign of Xuanzong; introduction of relatives into royal administration led to revolt. -Zhao Kuangyin: Founder of Song dynasty; originally a general following fall of Tang; took title of Taizu; failed to overcome northern Liao dynasty that had remained independent. -Zhu xi: Most prominent of neo-Confucian scholars during the Song dynasty in China; stressed importance of applying philosophical principles to everyday life and action. -Wang Anshi: chief minister of Song Shenzong emperor; introduced sweeping reforms in response to the impending collapse. -Li Bo: most famous poet of Tang era; blended images of the mundane world with philosophical musings.

Comparison/Relations with Other Societies:

-song/Rome/West: In the Song the military was subordinate to civilian bureaucrats, while in Rome/West the military leaders were the one who dominated.

Questions & Connections (What argument or point remains unclear? Any thought that comes to mind, triggered by the text? What historical, global, thematic, or even personal connections can you make?): QUESTIONS:
Why did men prefer tiny feet on woman? Why was Xuanzong so infatuated with Yang Guifei? Why did the elite class produce much of the art and not skilled artisans? What happened between the period of 907-960, from the time of the fall of Tang and the beginning of the (The book didnt say much) -By moving south, the Song was able to withstand nomadic invaders. - until the 18th century-> political and economical resources unmatchable to other



-more market oriented civilizations

-the production of luxury goods desired by the wealthy class from around the world

-Technological improvements taken from surrounding areas -Chinese inventions utilized by the rest of the world