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The Yuan Dynasty
Transcript of The Yuan Dynasty
Or as we like to call it...
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Technology and Inventions
used to store and serve. Before bowls were used to serve and brushes were used to steep the tea
: first written accounts of game use
: warfare used to be lit and thrown to the enemy, to subsequently explode to cause significant injuries
: a language created from the unification between Chineses and Mongolian language
The perfection of movable type
: a wooden system of printing that uses movable components to reproduce elements of a documents
In addition, the Yuan rebuilt the Grand Canal and put the roads and postal stations in good order.
Religious and Philosophical Influences
belief in the existence of Jinn (intelligible of lower rank than the angels, able to appear in human and animal forms and to possess humans.
had great influences to the mongols has two principals "Wolf totem and deer totem" The wolf represent grandfather and deer represent grandmother.
became a dominant religion during the Yuan dynasty due to the Mongolians tendency of keen academics.
based on the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, it rests on the belief that human beings are fundamentally good, and teachable, improvable, and perfectible through personal and communal endeavor especially self-cultivation and self-creation.
The Economy of the Yuan Dynasty
As a mighty state, the Yuan Dynasty enjoyed economic development and prospered in the fields of science and literature. The economy was mainly based on agriculture. The agricultural techniques used were superior to those of previous dynasties and food output increased. Additionally, the use of paper currency stimulated the development of commerce. Meanwhile, trade with foreign countries was greatly encouraged following an open policy adopted by the rulers.
The Yuan Dynasty exported silk and procelain and imported great amount of spices and medical materials through sea and the silk road.
They also used a paper currency called "Chao"; It was the first paper currency use as a predominant circulating medium in China
In 1279, Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongols and grandson of Genghis Khan, conquered China and became the first emperor of its Yuan, or Mongol, dynasty. He was thus at the same time the overlord of all the Mongol dominions—which included areas as diverse as that of the Golden Horde in southern Russia, the Il-Khanate of Persia, and the steppe heartlands where Mongol princes were still living the traditional nomadic life—and the ruler of his own realm of China. To govern China, with its long and individual political and cultural history, demanded statecraft of a special order.
Art of the Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty is credited for the cultural achievement of the development of the novel as a literary form of entertainment.
The Yuan Dynasty was the the first dynasty to name Beijing as its capitol.
With the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongolian Empire stretched over 15 million square kilometers.
The Yuan Dynasty is the shortest dynasty to ever exist in Asia, with only 89 years of existence.
During the Pax Mongolica, one would travel from Southern China, to western Russia without any harm.
A Mongol was trained to ride horses by the age of three.
In most cases, the Mongols were outnumbered and were still successful in battle.
So who is Kublai Khan, and Genghis Khan?...
And why are they so famous and handsome?
Genghis Khan was born "Temujin" in Mongolia around 1162. He married at age 16, but had many wives during his lifetime. At 20, he began building a large army with the intent to destroy individual tribes in Northeast Asia and unite them under his rule. He was successful by establishing the Mongol Empire and forging a legacy that would continue until this day; the Mongol Empire was the largest empire in the world before the British Empire, and lasted well after his own death in 1227
The grandson of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire (1260-1294) and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China. He assumed the title emperor of China, and his conquest of South China’s Song Dynasty was the last step in the Mongols’ efforts to rule China wholly. With that conquest behind him, he became the overlord of all the Mongol dominions.
Kublai Khan's Greatest Achievement
Unification of China
Generally, Kublai's overriding achievement as khan is seen as reestablishing unity within China, a country that had been divided since the end of the Tang Dynasty, which ended in 901 A.D. The major step taken to unify China was the conquest of the Song Dynasty in the south, an accomplishment that took several years.
Why Conquer the Song?
Kublai may not initially have had intentions of ruling beyond his realm in the north, leaving the Song Dynasty ostensibly in control of South China, but the ill treatment of emissaries he had sent convinced him that the Song must be dealt with conclusively, and military actions commenced in 1267. Nine years later, in 1276, Kublai’s forces captured the Song’s child emperor, but loyalists delayed the dynasty’s inevitable fall until 1279. Anticipating his eventual success, eight years earlier Kublai had given his dynasty a name: Ta Yan, or Great Origin.
The Start of the Yuan Dynasty
By 1279, Kublai Khan had successfully united both northern china and southern China with all of China finally in Mongol hands.
Kublai Khan, in awe at his historically unique accomplishment, spent most of him time in China, moving the Mongolian capitol from Karakorum, to Dadu (present-day Beijing)
Kublai's distrust of Chinese officials led him to place foreigners in power to run the Mongolian government, under his rule.
By 1273, Kublai established a centralized paper currency, laying the foundation for modern day systems.
Kublai, in an effort to restore China’s regional stature, engaged in a series of costly, misguided and ultimately fruitless wars with peripheral kingdoms. Armies from such lands as Burma, Indochina and Japan dealt disastrous defeats to the Mongols, resulting in economic and political hardships which placed the Mongol Empire under a strenuous path.
The Japanese campaign was particularly catastrophic, as severe weather and the Japanese resistance nearly annihilated Kublai’s forces
The Start of the Decline of the Yuan Dynasty
The Death of Kublai Khan
The Start of Political and Economic Instability
Marco Polo's Visit
The Rise of the Ming and the fall of the Yuan
On February 18th, 1294, beset by personal grief and growing internal strife, Kublai Khan dies. His next few successors are unable to rule with the same efficiency, and corruption sets in,
In 1331, The bubonic plague ravages the empire. Termed the "Black Death" in Europe, the bubonic plague pandemic enters the Yuan empire and ravages the population. Millions of people die, and the disaster contributes to political instability within the empire.
Then in 1344, when the Yellow River shifts course in 1344, it causes a massive flood that destroys a key, populous region in the center of the empire. The river floods two more times under Yuan rule, thus increasing political instability.
In 1275, Marco Polo arrives in China. The Italian merchant and explorer Marco Polo arrives in China, where he lives, like many foreign officials, as one of Kublai Khan's court officials for about 17 years. His eyewitness account introduces Europe to the prosperity and advanced technology of China.
Marco Polo learned Mongolian, Chinese and became familiar with the Chinese customs. Becoming a confidant of Kublai Khan, he was appointed to high posts in the court and was sent on many special diplomatic missions to many places in China, India and some kingdoms of Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, Burma and Sumatra.
His fascinations and explorations are subsequently written in his book: "The Travels of Marco Polo".
In 1356, Zhu Yuanzhng uses political and economic instability facing the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty to claim the Mandate of Heaven, and begins his 12-year campaign to extinguish the Yuan Dynasty. He calls for the overthrow of the Mongols and the restoration of the Han Chinese to power, and subsequently gains popular support. He begins defeating rival armies in neighboring regions.
In 1368, Zhu's army reaches the capital of Dadu. The Yuan emperor flees to the north, where the dynasty continues, but he loses control of the rest of the empire. The dynasty ultimately retreats to Mongolia, and Zhu begins the Ming dynasty in China,and the Yuan Dynasty falls.
The Yuan Dynasty, under the vastness of unity within the Mongol Empire, provide a plethora of technological improvements and development, like the following:
In the geographic vastness of the Mongolian Empire, many philosophical ideologies existed offering, a cultural and religious diversity to the empire and the Yuan Dynasty. Kublai accepted all major religions under his rule, including:
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, major religions at the time, were also allowed under the rule of the Khan inside the Mongolian Empire. The diversity in beliefs allowed them to influence the Khan's decisions of the different regions under his rule.
The Government of the Yuan Dynasty
The eastern part of the empire became as base of power in the year 1260. To rule Kublai's empire, Kublai utilized the government structure he found established in the Jin and Song Empires, but he replaced the officials with foreigners.
The Mongols took over the political system of the Song administration, the system for taxation, granaries, state examinations for official recruitment, the paper money as a national currency, the imperial library and the historiographical offices. They left in place most Song institutions but imposed on them offices staffed with Mongol overseers called daruhaci.
The information and political atmosphere of the dynasty would then be relayed to the emperor, or in this case, Khan, resulting in an autocratic government.
Artist in the Yuan Dynasty had to seek inspiration within themselves and their traditions. These painters sought a return in their art to what they viewed as more ideal times. Artists such as Zhao Mengfu and the Four Masters of the Yuan dynasty thus firmly fixed the ideal of “literati painting”, which valued erudition and personal expression above elegant surface or mere representation
There was also an emphasis upon stark and simple forms (bamboo, rocks, etc.) and upon calligraphy. There was also a conservative revival of Buddhist art (painting and sculpture), sponsored by the Mongols in an effort to establish their authority over the Chinese.
The Yuan Dynasty specialized in pottery and tapestries. They enjoyed developing intricate tapestries that were based on chinese art styles. as a form of entertainment they put on shadow puppet plays.
Culture of the Yuan Dynasty
Much of the Yuan Dynasty's culture is greatly marked by the social classes one lived in. A social class set up like the following:
The Mongols were the minority group, so they maintained power by dividing the general population into four social classes: the Mongols, the central Asians, the northern Chinese and Koreans, and the southern Chinese. The first two classes, at the top of the power pyramid, enjoyed extensive privileges; the third class held a nearly neutral position; and the southern Chinese, the most numerous and representing those from the toppled Song Dynasty, were essentially barred from state offices and were used as laborers in public works projects and the like. Those in this fourth class became progressively poorer.
The World of Khubilai Khan. By James. C. Y. Watt
The History of the Mongol Conquests. By: J.J Saunders