The Tang and Song Dynasties


The Two Golden Ages of China (Chapter 12 Section 1)
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Created by kroncallo over 8 years ago

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The Song controlled less territory than the Tang and faced the constant threat of an invasion from the north.

Chinese women were forced to bind their feet during the Song Dynasty in order to be wed. It was believed that foot binding reinforced the Confucian tradition that women should remain inside the home.

The Indian stupa evolved into the Chinese pagoda, a multistoried temple with eaves that curve up at the corners. Buddhist themes often influenced Chinese architecture.

Confucianism played a significant role in the development of Chinese society. Social classes were developed based on the philosophy, placing merchants below peasants. To become a government official, one had to be an expert in Confucianism. This is because the civil service exam was based largely on the teachings of Confucius.

The Tang and Song Dynasties

The Chinese had a strict social system based on Confucianism. The emperor was placed on top. Under him was the gentry, or wealthy, landowning class. It consisted of men who were experts in Confucian tradition. Next came peasants, who made up 75% of the population. They were mostly self-sufficient and worked the land. The lowest social class consisted of merchants. This was due to the Confucian belief that merchants were not to be highly respected since their riches came from the labor of others. See the mind map for more information about society during the Tang and Song dynasties.

Inventions and Achievements of the Song Dynasty meritocracy: system established in which bureaucrats earned and kept their positions based on their abilities and performances new distribution of civil service exam: allowed all promising students, whether rich or poor, to prepare for and take the civil service exam (previously only sons of wealthy aristocrats could afford to prepare for the exam) Chan: form of Buddhism that emphasized personal enlightenment through intense, quiet meditation, rather than studying Buddhist scriptures New roads and waterways: built so that the government could send news and information across China faster, they also improved trade Farming improved: fast-growing rice introduced, allowing farmers to plant to or even three crops a year instead of just one Compass: made sea navigation more accurate, Chinese merchant ships traveled to Southeast Asia, India, the east Indies, Arabia, and later as far as Africa to trade Porcelain: new form of pottery which had an elegant, transparent finish, wasn't produced in Europe until 1700s Paper money: lighter and more accessible compared to original copper coins, made paying for goods much easier Abacus: world's first calculator, made business calculations much faster and accurate Movable-type printing: made bookmaking cheaper and faster than ever before, more Chinese had the opportunity to get an education and literacy rate increased

Art, Architecture, and Writing Painting: Painting and calligraphy were essential skills of the scholar-gentry. Artists sought balance and harmony through the mastery of simple strokes and lines. Many artists showed China's beautiful landscape in their paintings. Painters sought to capture the spiritual essence of the natural world, trying to depict a harmonious relationship between heaven and earth. Architecture: Buddhist themes dominated sculpture and influenced Chinese architecture (see pagoda section). Sculptures of the Buddha were made often. The statues today left the impression that Buddha was a Chinese god rather than an Indian holy man. Porcelain: Porcelain was a shine, hard pottery that was prized as the finest in the world. The Chinese perfected techniques in making it. Westerners would later call Chinese porcelain "chinaware." Writing: Prose and poetry was created during the Tang and Song dynasties. Scholars wrote more about philosophy, religion, and history. Fantasy, romance, and adventure were written about for the first time. Confucian scholars were expected to master the skills of poetry. Many touched on Buddhist and Daoist themes as well as on social issues. The greatest Tang poet was probably Li Bo.

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