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The Sui and Tang Empires, 581-755 Essay Sample

The Sui and Tang Empires, 581-755 Pages
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* After the fall of the Han China was fragmented for several centuries. * China was reunified with the Sui dynasty, father and son rulers who held power from 581 until Turks from Inner Asia defeated the son * Small kingdoms of northern China and Inner Asia that had come and gone structured themselves around a variety of political ideas and institution. * People preferred having an emperor, a bureaucracy using the Chinese language, and a Confucian state philosophy. * In northern China, deserts, and steppe of Inner Asia focused on political life, commercial linkage, and a source of new ideas. * Sui’s called their capital Chang’an.

* The old Han capital was in the Wei River Valley.
* Grand Canal: linking the Yellow River with the Yangzi. * The Sui improved the Great Wall. the barrier from the nomads. * The Sui military extended to Korea, Vietnam, and Inner Asia. * Overextension lead to political problems from military defeat and assassination of second Sui empire. * Li family took over Sui.

* The Li changed the name to Tang.
* Li Shimin extended the empire into Inner Asia
* The Tang Empire retained many Sui governing practices and avoided over centralization.
* The Tang emperors descended from Turkic elites.
* Tang art: large pottery.
* Tang used Chinese weapons in war.
* In 650 to 751 Tang was defeated in Central Asia by an Arab Muslim army at the Battle of Talas River, the Tang armies were a difficult force.

Buddhism and the Tang Empire
* Buddhism flourished in Inner Asia and north China.
* Buddhism believed protecting spirits were to help the ruler govern and prevent harm from coming to his people. * Mahayana, or “Great Vehicle” Buddhism was the greatest. * Mahayana Buddhism: faith in enlightened beings- bodhisattvas- who postponed nirvana to help others achieve enlightenment. * Mahayana encouraged translating Buddhist scripture into local language. * Early Tang princes competing for political influence enlisted monastic leaders to pray for them. For this, monasteries earned tax exemptions, land, and gifts. * As Tang Expanded west contact with Central Asia and India increased. * Chang’an, the Tang capital, became a center of a system of communication. * Many historians characterize the Tang Empire as “cosmopolitan” because of its diversity.

To Chang’an by Land and Sea
* Chang’an became the center of what is called the tributary system, a type of political relationship which independent countries acknowledge the Chinese supremacy. Upheavals and Repression
* The later years of the Tang Empire saw increasing turmoil as a result of conflict with Tibetans and Turkic Uighurs. * The Tang elites came to see Buddhism as discouragement of the Confucian idea of the family as the model for state. * Confucian scholar Han Yu wrote “Memorial on the Bone of Buddha”. * Buddhism was also attacked for encouraging women in politics. * Wu Zhao a woman, married into the imperial family, seized control of the government and declared herself emperor. * She became a Bodhisattva. As well as favored Buddhists and Daoists over Confucianism in her court and government. * People didn’t like women ruling and writers such as Yang Guifei and Bo Zhuyi. * Because of this people blamed Yang Guifei for the outbreak of the An Lushan rebellion. * Historians characterized women and unorthodox rulers as evil. * Buddhism shunned early ties, monks and nuns served relations with the secular world in search of enlightenment. * Buddhist people were exempted from taxes.

* The government wanted to destroy the monasteries who had tax exemption and received land. * Monasteries such as Dunhauang were protected by local warlords in Inner Asia. The End of the Tang Empire

* An Lushan, a Tang general on the northeast frontier, led 200,000 soldiers into rebellion. * The King and Yang Guifei ( An Lushan’s lover) left Chang’an. * The rebellion lasted 8 years and resulted in new powers for provincial military governors who helped suppress it. * Huang Choa, led the most devastating uprising.

* His rebellion attracted poor farmers and tenants who could not protect themselves from local bosses or landlords. * Tang emperors never gained power again after Huang Chao’s rebellion. The Emergence of East Asia

* After the Tang 3 new empires emerged.
* The Liao Empire of the Khitan, established rule in the north. * Established government in several cities.
* Tanggut: inner Asian frontier in northwestern China created by the Minyak people (cousins with Tibetans) * The third state, the Chinese speaking Song Empire in central Asia. * Mahayana Buddhism among the Liao, Tibetan Buddhism along the Tanngut, and Confucianism along the Song. * The Song used advanced seafaring and sailing technologies to forge maritime connections with other states in east, west, and Southeast Asia. The Liao and Jin Challenge

* The Liao Empire extended from Siberia to Inner Asia.
* Variations of khitan name: Kitai for Mongols, khitai for Russians, Cathay for Italian merchants like Marco Polo. * Liao rulers prided themselves on their pastoral traditions as horse and cattle breeders. * Encouraged Chinese elites to use their own language and see the emperor through Confucian eyes. * Buddhism was popular in northern states.

* The Khitans also challenged the Song with siege machines from china and central Asia. * There was a truce but it made the song emperor pay the Liao quantities of silk and cash annually. * Song allied with the Jurchens of northeastern Asia.

* The Jurchens destroyed the Liao capital in Mongolia and made a new empire, which was the Jin. * The Jurchens grew rice, millet, and wheat, but they also went hunting and fishing. * Jurchens laid siege to the Song capital, Kaifeng, and captured song emperor. * Song after established a new capital at Hangzhou, leaving central as well as northern China in Jurchen control. * This period is called the Southern Song.

Song Industries
* Song mathematicians introduced the use of fractions, first using them to describe phases of the moon. * World astronomers noted the explosion of the Crab Nebula. * A small compass was invented.

* Development of the seaworthy compass coincided with new techniques in building China’s main oceangoing ship. * Junk: ship
* Song rulers fought their northern rivals for control of mines in north China. * The Song experimented with gunpowder, which they initially used to propel clusters of flaming arrows. * During war with Jurchens the Song made a new weapon. Shells launched from Song exploded enemies. Economy and Society in Song China

* In a warlike era, Song elite idealized civil pursuits. * New interpretations of Confucian teachings became so important and influential that the term Neo Confucianism is used for Song and Confucian thought. * Zhu Xi, a Neo Confucian thinker, wrote reactions to many centuries during which Buddhism and Daoism had overshadowed the precepts of Confucius. * Focused on central conception that human nature is moral, rational, and good. * Their human ideal was the sage, a person who could preserve mental stability. * Buddhist sects persisted during the Song.

* Buddhist elaborated on Tang- era folk practices derived from India and Tibet. The best known is Chan Buddhism asserted that mental discipline alone could win salvation. * The Song had examinations that people had to take which involved a large bureaucracy. * Hereditary class distinctions meant less than they had in the Tang times, when noble lineages played a greater role in structure of power. * Movable Type: each individual character is cast on a separate piece of metal which, made printing cheaper. * There were Health and crowding problems in the song capitals. * In Hangzhou engineers diverted the nearby river to flow throughout the city, flushing away waste and diseases. * Intercity or interregional credit: flying money depended on the acceptance guarantees that paper could be redeemed for coinage. * Tax farmers made profit by collecting the maximum amount and sending an agreed upon smaller so, to the government. * Rapid economic growth undermined the remaining government monopolies and traditional strict regulation of business. * Women experienced in the Song subordination.

* Women couldn’t remarry if their husband divorced them or dies. * Subordination was do to Confucianism.
* The poet Li Qingzhao and made fun of women status.
* Female foot binding first appeared among slaves at the Tang court. * Binding forced toes under and toward heel so bones eventually broke. * Foot binding started from ages 5 to 7.
* Literate men were against foot binding.
* Mothers knew if they didn’t bind their daughters feet they wouldn’t get married. New Kingdoms In East Asia and Southeast Asia
* There were new emerging kingdoms in east and south.
* Korea, Japan, and Vietnam devoted effort for cultivating rice.
*Confucianism justified using agricultural profits to support the education, safety, and comfort of the literature elite. * In each kingdom Song civilization melded with indigenous culture. * In the south Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya marked the boundary of Chinese influence.

Chinese Influences
* Korea, Japan, and Vietnam had first centralized power under ruling houses in the early Tang period. * Landowning and agriculture remained a main source of income. Korea
* Travelers have documented Korean history when the Qin Empire established. * Han writers wrote about shamanism, which is calling of the spirit. * Korea was Buddhist and believed in Confucianism.

* Korea is very forested.
* The dominant landholding families made inherited status- the “bone ranks”- in Silla, a kingdom in southeast of the peninsula. * In the northern Koguryo kingdom came to an end after conflicted with the Sui and Tang. * Silla who was supported by the Tang took control of the Korean peninsula. * The fall of Tang also went with fall of Silla and this started the house of Koryo. * Koryo was threatened by Liao and Jin.

* The oldest surviving woodblock in Chinese comes from Korea.
* Artisans developed their own advances in printing.
* Japan has 4 main islands and many smaller ones stretching in an arc from as far south as Georgia. * Their were a lot of monsoon rains.
* The first Chinese description of Japan, tells of an island at the eastern edge of the world. Ruled by Shamanas named Himiko and Pimiko. * There was a unification of Japan under the Yamato- based rulers. * Rulers implemented the Taika, giving Yamato regime features of Tang government. * There was a centralized government with a complex system of law had emerged, as attested by a massive history in Confucian style. * Women of aristocracy became royal consorts.

* Suiko a women from the immigrant aristocratic family of Soga, became empress after her husbands death. * Asuka her capital, saw Buddhist art an her nephew Shotku opened relations with Sui China. * The Japanese mastered Chinese building techniques so well the Nara and Kyoto, Japan’s early capitals, provide invaluable evidence of the wooden architecture. * Japanese cities were built without walls.

* The Confucian Mandate of Heaven, which justified dynamistic changes, played no role in legitimating Japanese government. * Tenno- emperor.
* Prim minister and leaders are called Shinto.
* The government moved to Kyoto, Heian.
* Members of the Fujiwara clan- a family of priest, bureaucrats, and warriors who succeeded the Soga clan in influence- controlled power and protected the emperor. * Pursuit of an aesthetic way of life prompted the Fujiwara nobles to entrust responsibility for local government, policing, and tax collection to their warriors. * Fujiwara clans didn’t encourage education for women. * The Tale of Genji written by a noblewoman Murasaki Shibukibu is about the Fujiwara court. * The women were lonely.

* The Kamukura Shogunate in eastern Honshu is the first of Japan’s decentralized military governments. * The Tale of the Heike about clan
war, reflects a Buddhist. * There was a new warrior class called samurai absorbed some of the aristocratic values. Vietnam

* Vietnams economic and political life centered on two fertile river valleys, the Red River in the north and Mekong in the south.
* Vietnamese used draft animals working with metal.
* Tang and song times the elites of Annam adopted Confucian bureaucratic training.
* Annam assumed the name Dai Viet and maintained good relation with the song. * Champa, in southern Vietnam, rivaled Dai Viet state.

* Champa rice came from India.
* Vietnam shared the general Confucian interest in hierarchy, but attitudes towards women, differed from Chinese model. * Korea allowed women to negotiate property.
* Before Confucianism, Annamese women had enjoyed higher status than women in China. * The Trung Sisters of Vietnam led local farmers in resistance against the Han Empire. Srivijaya
* Srivijaya- a sate based on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It amassed wealth and power by a combination of selective adaption of Indian technologies and concepts. * It brought four distinctive ecological zones under its control. * The core area was the agricultural plain along Musi River in Sumatra. * Palembang was the capital.

* The second zone was the upland regions of Sumatra’s interior, which yielded commercially valuable forest products. * The third zone consisted of River ports that had been Srivijaya’s main rival. * The fourth zone was a fertile “rice bowl” on the central plain of the nearby island of Java. * The Srivijayan king, drawing upon Mahayana Buddhist conceptions, presented himself as a bodhisattva. * The Kings built monasteries and schools.

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