- Slides: 35
China Tang and Song Dynasties
Dynasties • “A sequence of powerful leaders in the same family” – Shang Dynasty 1766 to 1122 B. C. – Zhou Dynasty 1122 to 256 B. C. – Tang Dynasty 618 to 907 A. D. – Song Dynasty 960 to 1279 A. D. Tang Dynasty
Two Great Dynasties in China • During the Tang (618 -907) and Song (9601279) dynasties, China becomes the richest, powerful, and most advanced country in the world.
• Main Idea: – Tang and Song China experienced an era of prosperity and technological innovation. • Why it Matters Now: – Chinese inventions from this period: printing, gunpowder, and the compass, changed history.
Tang Dynasty (618) • Carried empire building to new heights • Conquered Vietnam, Tibet and Korea making them acknowledge China as supreme power and had to pay money to the ruler • Recruited talent through a civil service test. Similar tests are given today in order to work for the United States government. – Only men could take the tests and work for the government
Land Reform • Rulers gave land to peasants that was previously owned by wealthy landowners – Result government grew stronger, wealthy landowners became less powerful
Tang Dynasty Declines • Invasion of Arabs, corruption, high taxes, drought, famine, and rebellions all contributed to the downward swing of the Tang dynasty
The Song Dynasty (960) • Controlled less territory than the Tang dynasty • Chinese economy grew because of their farming practices. • System of canals built for travel and trade • Under both the Tang and Song trade flourished. • Europeans loved their silks, spices and special woods.
Agriculture: Fast-ripening rice • As Tang and Song armies ventured into Vietnam, they encountered fastripening rice – Allowed two crops per year – When introduced into the fertile fields of southern China, fastripening rice quickly expanded the food supply Chinese characters for “rice field”
Agriculture • imported fastripening rice from Vietnam • allowed two crops each season instead of one • fueled population increase
Tang and Song Dynasties • Let’s take a look at some of the achievements of these dynasties
Cities Southern Gate of Chang’an
Cities • Increased food supplies encouraged the growth of cities • During the Tang Dynasty, the imperial capital of Chang’an was the world’s most populous city – Perhaps two million residents • During the Song Dynasty, the capital of Hangzhou had over a million residents – Southern terminus of the Grand Canal
Economic Exchange Coins from the Tang Dynasty Yellow and Yangzi Rivers
Economic Exchange: Letters of Credit • 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 Coin from Tang Dynasty
Economic Exchange: Paper Money • The search for alternatives to cash also led to the invention of paper money • During the late ninth century, wealthy merchants began accepting cash from their clients and issuing them printed notes that the clients could redeem for merchandise • Greatly facilitated commercial transactions
Economic Exchange: Tea • Tea trading flourished during Tang and Song era • Tea was compressed into bricks and used as money
Social Hierarchy Emperor Xuanzong of Tang China Song examination candidate dreaming of the rewards of academic success
Religion and Education Buddha from Tang Dynasty
Religion and Education • Buddhist merchants visited China as early as the second century B. C. • Found a popular following in Tang and Song China • Emphasized high standards of morality, intellectual sophistication, and a promise of salvation A Buddhist monk
Science and Technology • mathematics flourished • adopted the use of algebra and the concept of zero
New Technologies Song porcelain Cannon ca. 1368
New Technologies: Porcelain • Tang craftsmen discovered how to produce porcelain which was lighter, thinner, and adaptable to more uses than earlier pottery – Strong enough and attractive enough to serve utilitarian or aesthetic purposes • Tang and Song products gained such a reputation that porcelain is commonly called “china” Tang Marble Glazed Porcelain Figure
New Technologies: Printing Book printing ca. 868
New Technologies: Printing • Became common in Tang era • Earliest printers used block-printing techniques – Carved a reverse image of an entire page into a wooden block, inked the block, then pressed a sheet of paper on top of it • By the mid-eleventh century, printers began to experiment with movable type – Fashioned dies in the shape of ideographs, arranged them in a frame, inked them, and pressed the frame over paper sheets – Speeded up the process and allowed printers to make revisions and corrections – Facilitated production and distribution of texts quickly, cheaply, and in large quantities
Impact of Movable Type • Allowed large production and distribution of – – – Buddhist texts Confucian works Calendars Agricultural treatises Popular works
New Technologies: Gunpowder • During the Tang era, Daoist alchemists learned it was dangerous to mix charcoal, saltpeter, sulphur, and arsenic – Military officials saw possibilities • By the tenth-century, the Tang military was using gunpowder in bamboo “fire lances, ” a kind of flame thrower and by the eleventh century they had made primitive bombs
Inventions of Tang and Song China
Golden Age of Art • wealth, education, and urban culture = artistic achievement • great poetry – Li Bo and Du Fu • Three-color ware was one of the greatest contributions of the Tang Dynasty. • Many figurines, predominantly horses and camels, were produced.
• Most of these pieces have been found in the more affluent tombs of the Tang period
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