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China and the World: East Asian Connections (500-1300)

This is an overview of Chapter Nine of Ways of the World by Robert W. Strayer

Fernando Castillo

on 28 November 2012

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Transcript of China and the World: East Asian Connections (500-1300)

China and the World:
East Asian Connections
(500-1300) The Reemergence of a Unified China The Fall of a Giant and Rise of New Life After the fall of the Han Dynasty around 220 C.E., political fragmentation became a reality
Chinese migration southward to the Yangzi River Valley gave China 60% of population by 1000
Set in motion environmental and economical tranformation THE GOLDEN AGE Regained unity under the Sui Dynasty (589-618) Yang Jian came to power after appointed duke of Sui in north China (580)
Claimed Mandate of Heaven
House of Sui ruled all of China (589) Construction of palaces and granaries
Extensive repairs on defensive walls
Dispatched military forces to Central Asia and Korea
Levied taxes and demanded compulsory labor services The Sui, Tang, and Song Sui Yangdi (604-618) set forth the construction of the Grand Canal Series of artifical waterways roughly 1200 miles long
Facilitated trade with outside world
Linked North and South China
Effective because Chinese waterways only flowed east and west The Grand Canal Tang, the successor Rebel leader seized Chang'an and began new Tang Dynasty (618-907)
2nd Emperor, Tang Taizong (627-649) murdered 2 brothers and overpowered father to gain throne
As a Confucian ruler, set capital at Chang'an
3 policies enforced under Tang:

1.) Maintenance of well-articulated transportation/communications network - Not only Grand Canal, also roads, horses, and human runners.
Officials maintained inns, postal stations, and stables
Tang court communicated with distant cities using couriers
relay teams of about 9,600 runners supplied Tang court with food derived from some 620 miles from Chang'an

2.) Distribution of land according to principles of equal-field system - Allocation of agricultural land
Ensured equal distribution of property to try to avoid property problems of Han
Land according to fertility and needs
1/5th became hereditary possession while rest was redistributable
After first half of Tang Dynasty, rising population, biased rich and Buddhist monasteries caused problems

3.) Reliance on bureaucracy based on merit. - reflected on performance on imperial civil service examinations
most officials were aristrocrats
later commoners joined ranks
served to staff the Censorate (agency that "watched" rest of gov.)
encouraged printed books and prevented cheating
Sons of privileged held most seats
more education led to higher standards (unless you're rich)
combined landowning and examinations to maintain "cultural presitge" Song Dynasty (960-1279) Warlord ruled China after Tang for 50 years before Song Dynasty
Song Taizu - 1st Song emperor (960-976) - Regarded all state officials as servants of imperial gov.
Expanded beureacracy based on merit by creating more opportunities to take examinations
Accepted more candidates than Sui and Tang

"Economic Revolution" - Rapid growth in population and agricultural fertility (adoption of Vietnamese drought resistant rice strain)
China was most urbanized city in world with Song capital of Hangzhou being home to more than 1 million
Specialized markets for meat, herbs, vegetables, books and rice
Restaurants advertised for more unique offerings
"hitting the cup" and "luxuriant" inns
Specialized agencies, music schools and numerous clubs

Industrial Prosperity - Large-scale enterprised and backyard furnaces flourished
Iron industry annually provided military with 32,000 suits of armor and 16 million arrowheads and provided coins, tools and bells for monasteries
Inventions in printing led to first printed books and navigational technologies
Gunpowder revolutionized military
Cheap transportation, taxes paid in cash, and paper money supported commercialization. Women of the Song Tang women enjoyed social life and freedom
art shows aristocrat women riding horses
women worshiped Queen Mother of the West in Song, Confucianism and rapid economic growth revived Han Dynasty's image on female passivity and restricted women Women viewed as distractions and widows remarrying was shameful Foot binding - involved wrapping of girls' feet, usually breaking bones
expressed female beauty in small size, delicacy, and reticence
supported patriarchy and Confucian beliefs by literally restricting women to inner quarters.
many mothers supported this to enhance daughters' marriage prospects Sima Guang (1019-1086) - "The boy leads the girl, the girl follows the boy; the duty of husbands to be resolute and wives to be docile begins with this" Rapid commercializing economy undermined women's roles in the industry
Women found other opportunities such as operating restaurants and being maids, cooks, and dressmakers
Women also became concubines, entertainers, courtesans, and prostitutes Women's property rights expanded
Officials encouraged education of women Chinese World Order Conflicts with Nomads pastoral societies in the north comprised of kinship-based groups needed agricultural products from China
Nomadic leaders wanted luxurious goods
Nomads traded, raided and extorted China for resources Nomads saw China as the threat
Great Wall kept nomads out and often kept them from traiding with China
Chinese needed skins, furs, kids and horses provided by the Nomads
Pastoral nomads also controlled much of Silk Road Tribute System in Theory China saw itself as Middle Kingdom (more superior than "barbarian" nomads)
China was a radiating civilization that others fed and relied on and not vise versa
Tribute System - set of practices that required foreigners to acknowledge Chinese superiority
Before interacting with China, foreigners performed "Kow-tow"-series of ritual bowings/prostrations
China then provided foreigners with bestowels that were more valuable than presented gifts Tribute System in Practice Disguised realities that contradicted personal beliefs
China held itself above not only small societies, but also above equal giants such as the Xiongnu
Tribute system reversed - China gave Xiongnu grain, wine, and silk so Xiongnu wouldn't crush China In Tang era, Turkic empires often extorted gifts from Chinese
Uighurs rescued Tang Dynasty from revolt in 750's
traded poor-quality horses for high quality silk When Chinese state broke down, nomads moved in to "pick up the pieces"
Khitan (907-1125) and Jin/Jurchen (1115-123) established states in northern China and northern steppes
Both required southern Song to send goods, which supported the Chinese tradition of bestowing gifts on barbarians (still conceded) Cultural Influences Some nomads adopted Chinese ways
Jurchen people "became Chinese" - spoke Chinese, dressed in Chinese clothing, married Chinese people and practiced Buddhism/Daoism
northern societies retained their culture Founders of Sui/Tang dynasties were mixed nomad and Chinese
High ranking officials led troops in battle Turkic warrior style
Asian foreigners brought specializations and new religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Manichaeism)
Southern Chinese criticized northern counterparts for dislocating themselves from the Han dynasty legacy China and the Eurasian World Economy China's impact on Eurasia China's economic revolution led to interaction with the Eurasian world
Diffusion of innovations through movements of people, trade, soldiers, slaves, and pilgrims
China's innovations included
salt production through solar evaporation
paper making
spawned movable type, but was resisted by the the handwritten ways of the Islamic world until the 19th century
Johannes Gutenberg reinvented movable type
gunpowder that triggered development of firearms
Chinese textile, metallugical, and naval technologies that triggered later developments (i.e. magnetic compass) China as Economic Beneficiary Pattern of interaction between China and outer world was not a "one-way street"
China learned cultivation of cotton/sugar from India
China gained drought-resistant rice strains from Vietnam (marked major turning point in Chinese history)
Cross-cultural contact led to technological creativity
development of Persian style windmills
Buddhism's tradition of printing with seals spurred printing in China
Indian/Buddhism led to development of gunpowder
Large participation in Indian Ocean trade
led to racially diverse cosmopolitan centers in southern China by the Tang era
Occasionally brought upon problems, such as the massive massacre of foreigners in Canton
contributed to transformation of southern China from a subsistence (maintaining oneself) economy to one based on producing for export
China and Buddhism Buddhism was most important gift from India
Made China into the distributor of the religion into Korea and Japan
Provided an element of cultural commonality for all of East Asia Chinese Buddhism Buddhism entered China via the Silk Roads (1st-2nd centuries C.E.)
At first Buddhism was looked down upon during the Han Dynasty
Indian culture (spawn of Buddhism) was at odds with Chinese beliefs
contradicted Confucian thinking
Buddhism took rook in China (300-800 C.E.) within elite and popular culture
began with collapse of Han Dynasty (200 C.E.) that led to discrediting of Confucianism
Nomadic rulers governing northern China favored Buddhism
rich supported funds for the building of Buddhist monasteries that provided social services (accommodation, refuge, charity, treatments, donations, education)
in southern China, Buddhism provided comfort for a collapsing society
Serious effort by monks, scholars, and translators to relate Buddhism to Chinese (Buddhist morality was translated to Confucian concept of "filial submission and obedience)
Mahayana was more popular than Theravada
Pure Land School Buddhism was also popular
Faithfully repeating the name of an earlier Buddha (Amitabha) was enough to ensure rebirth in the Pure Land
Sui and Tang Dynasties gave support to Buddhism
Sui emperor Wendi built Buddhist monasteries at the base of China's 5 sacred mountains
Monasteries became wealthy and were exempt from taxation, owned large estates, and ran businesses
Never truly independent of state authorities like the Christian church
examinations were supervised by the state
education in the monasteries required study of Confucian classics Crisis of Chinese Buddhism Growth of Chinese Buddhism also had much criticism
Buddhist establishment was a "state within a state" (challenge to imperial authority)
Resentment of Buddhism's wealth
Foreign origin/offensive to Confucian/Doaist thinkers
Buddhist habit of withdrawing from society countered Confucian-based family systems
An Lushan Rebellion (755-763)
turning point spurred by resentment against foreign culture
Foreign origin led revolt against Tang dynasty
Chinese state took direct action against Buddhist establishment (841 and 845)
260,00 monks/nuns forced back to normal life
Monasteries, temples, shrines were destroyed or "normalized"
Buddhists were forbidden to use gold, silver, copper, iron, and gems in their physical images
Despite the persecution, Buddhism survived
during Song dynasty, Buddhism helped spurr the redevelopment of Confucian thinking
Buddhist elements remained in Chinese religion
"Every black-haired son of Han wears a Confucian thinking cap, a Daoist robe, and Buddhist sandals."
Overall, Buddhism became assimilated into Chinese culture, instead of completely taking over or being eradicated
And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes
East Asian Connections by Maddy Croft and Fernando Armando Alejandro Estrada Castillo Castillo II
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