Chapter 9 East Asian Connections, 300-1300
Notes, Part I
The Han Dynasty
202 BCE – 220 CE
• Lui Bang (LYOH BONG) – a
man of peasant origin who
became the emperor.
He came to be known as Han Gaozu
(“Exalted Emperor of Han”)
• Confucian principals rather
than legalism were favored.
• Continued the same type of
government system developed
by the Qin.
The Han dynasty collapsed around 220 C.E.
1. led to 300 years of
2. nomadic incursion
from the north
3. conditions
Confucianism in
many eyes
4. Chinese migration
southward to Yangzi
River valley began
And, How did the Chinese and their nomadic neighbors to
the north view each other?
Big Picture Questions
1. In what ways did Tang and Song dynasty China resemble the classical
Han dynasty period, and in what ways had China changed?
• Tang and Song dynasty China
resembled the Han dynasty period
in a number of ways, including the
maintenance of the imperial
political system, and the
importance of a professional
bureaucracy formally trained
and subject to competitive
• Also similar was a focus on
establishing a dominant political
position in East Asia that was
recognized by China’s
neighbors; an interest in and
support for long-distance trade;
and the continued importance of
the Confucian tradition in elite
1. In what ways did Tang and Song dynasty China resemble the classical Han
dynasty period, and in what ways had China changed?
• Tighter unification of northern
and southern China through a
vast waterway system; the longterm migration of Chinese
populations south into the
Yangzi River valley after 220 c.e.;
and an economic revolution that
made it the richest empire on
• There was rapid population
growth, from 50 million to 60
million people during the Tang,
which was spurred in part by a
remarkable growth in agricultural
• The economy of China
became the most highly
commercialized in the
world and became more
active in long-distance
trade than during the Han
Why are the centuries of the Tang and Song dynasties
in China sometimes referred to as a “golden age”?
1. Sui dynasty (589–618) reunified China
a. Sui rulers vastly extended the canal system
b. but their ruthlessness and failure to conquer Korea alienated people, exhausted state’s resources
c. dynasty was overthrown, but state didn’t disintegrate
2. Tang (618–907) and Song (960–1279) dynasties built on Sui foundations
a. established patterns of Chinese life that lasted into 20th century
b. regarded as a golden age of arts and literature
“Golden Age”
Map 9.1 Tang and
Song Dynasty China
During the
millennium, China
interacted extensively
with its neighbors.
The Tang dynasty
extended Chinese
control deep into
Central Asia, while
the Song dynasty
witnessed incursions
by the nomadic
Jurchen people, who
created the Jin
Empire, which ruled
parts of northern
Notice the great canal that links both the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers.
Why are the centuries of the Tang and Song dynasties in
China sometimes referred to as a “golden age”?
Also, In what ways did women’s lives change during the Tang and
Song dynasties? Song Era wasn’t very “golden” for women
In the visual source, An Elite
Night Party, women are
depicted as entertainers and
• During the Tang dynasty, elite
women in the north had had
greater freedom (influence of
steppe nomads)
• Song: tightening of patriarchal
restrictions on women
• Textile production became larger
scale, displacing women from
their traditional role in the
• Women found other roles in
cities: prosperity of the elite created
demand for concubines, entertainers,
courtesans, prostitutes
Foot Binding
• literature highlighted the
subjection of women
• foot binding started in
10th or 11th century C.E.
• was associated with
images of female beauty
and eroticism
• kept women restricted
to the house
Some positive trends for women during Song
• Although the Song
Dynasty returned
to Confucian
• women's property
rights expanded
• and lower-ranking
but ambitious
officials strongly
urged the
education of
women, so that
they might more
effectively raise
their sons and
increase the
family’s fortune.
The term martial arts refers to arts of combat and self-defense.
• They are a significant part of
Asian history and culture.
• Chinese martial arts were highly
visible already during the Han
• Later, in 495, a Zen Buddhist
monastery began developing
methods of physical training
known today as kung fu.
• In the Tang Dynasty, descriptions of
sword dances were immortalized in
poems by Li Bai. In the Song
Dynasty, xiangpu contests were
sponsored by the imperial courts. The
modern concepts of wushu (kung fu)
were fully developed by the Ming
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