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Song dynasty, Wade-Giles romanization Sung, (960–1279), Chinese dynasty that rule the nation during among its many brilliant social epochs. It is commonly divided into Bei (Northern) and also Nan (Southern) tune periods, together the dynasty ruled only in south China after ~ 1127.

The Bei track was started by Zhao Kuangyin, the military inspector general of the Hou (Later) Zhou dynasty (last of the five Dynasties), who usurped regulate of the empire in a coup. Thereafter, he offered his mastery the diplomatic maneuvering come persuade an effective potential rivals come exchange their strength for honours and sinecures, and he conduct to end up being an admirable emperor (known as Taizu, his holy place name). He set the country on a food of sound administration by instituting a competent and also pragmatic polite service; he complied with Confucian principles, live modestly, and took the country’s ideal military systems under his personal command. Before his death he had begun an growth into the tiny Ten Kingdoms of southern China.


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Taizu’s successors maintained an uneasy peace with the menacing Liao kingdom of the Khitan come the north. Over time, the quality of the bureaucracy deteriorated, and when the Juchen (Chinese: Nüzhen, or Ruzhen)—tribes indigenous the phibìc who toppled the Liao—burst into the north Song state, that was easy prey. The Juchen took over the North and established a dynasty with a Chinese name, the Jin. However they to be unable to take it those areas of track territory south of the Yangtze flow (Chang Jiang).

In the South, the climate and the beautiful surroundings were the setting for the Nan tune dynasty established (1127) through the emperor Gaozong. He made decision a resources he dubbed Lin’an (present-day Hangzhou) and collection about maintaining defenses against the hostile North and also restoring imperial authority in the hinterland. Gaozong was a aware admirer and also emulator that the extremely successful approach of the Han dynasty to the monitoring of civil service, and the empire’s bureaucrats long worked well. In due course, however, the dynasty began to decline. But the eventual fall of the Song dynasty was no sudden no one a please upon itself such as had finished several that its predecessors. The Mongols, under Genghis Khan, started their relocate on China with an attack on the Jin state in the phibìc in 1211. After their ultimate success in the North and several years of uneasy coexistence through the Song, the Mongols—under Genghis Khan’s grandsons—advanced top top the Song forces in 1250. The Song forces fought on till 1276, as soon as their resources fell. The dynasty finally finished in 1279 through the devastation of the tune fleet close to Guangzhou (Canton).


During the song period, commerce developed to an unmatched extent; profession guilds to be organized, paper currency come into boosting use, and several urban with populations of an ext than 1,000,000 prospered along the major waterways and the southeast coast. Widespread printing that the Confucian Classics and the use of movable type, start in the 11th century, carried literature and also learning to the people. Prospering private academies and also state schools graduated increasing numbers of competitors for the civil company examinations. The administration developed a comprehensive welfare policy that make this one of the many humane durations in Chinese history. In the works of the 12th-century philosophers Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan, Neo-Confucianism was systematized right into a meaningful doctrine.

The Song empire is particularly noted for the good artistic accomplishments that it urged and, in part, subsidized. The Bei Song dynasty at Bianjing had started a renewal of Buddhism and of literature and the arts. The greatest poets and painters in the empire were in attendance at court. The critical of the northern Song emperors was himself maybe the many noteworthy artist and also art collector in the country. His resources at Kaifeng to be a city the beauty, abounding in palaces, temples, and tall pagodas when, in 1126, the Juchen shed it. The architecture of the song era was noted for its tall structures; the highest possible pagoda in ~ Bianjing to be 360 feet (110 metres). Song architects curved the eave line of roofs increase at the corners. Pagodas, six- or eight-sided and built of brick or wood, still endure from the period.

The sculpture the the Song duration continued to emphasize depictions of the Buddha, and in the genre there to be no substantive improvements over the job-related of track sculptors in being successful dynasties. Landscape paint was one of the outstanding arts of the Bei Song, and also its most noted figures were pan Kuan and Li Cheng. In the Nan song many an excellent painters offered at the Hanlin Academy, becoming provided for brush effects, miniatures, and, under Chan (Zen) influence, paintings of buddhist deities, animals, and also birds.

In the decorative arts the tune dynasty marked a high suggest in Chinese pottery. Track wares are noted for your simplicity of shape and also the purity of colour and tone of your glazes. Native the Bei tune came Ding, Ru, Zhun, Cizhou, northern celadon, and also brown and black glazed wares; native the Nan tune came Jingdezhen whiteware, Jizhou wares, celadons, and also the black ceramic of Fujian. Pottery developed at the Guan kilns, near the Nan tune capital, to be the best of one enormous number of celadons the the dynasty.

The tendency of track jade carvers to take on old lines and techniques makes difficult the accurate dating of jades that might be native the Song, and it has actually been similarly an overwhelming to location Song lacquerware.

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In music the Bei Song adopted a two-stringed fiddle from the northern tribes, and also music was widely used for ceremonies, sacrifices, and other court events. Music attracted substantial attention in the dynasty’s massive works of literature: the official background of the dynasty committed 17 of its 496 chapters to musical events, and an encyclopaedia that appeared in 1267 has 10 the 200 chapters ~ above the subject of music. Music drama flourished throughout the Song, and also distinctly different styles advanced in the North and the South. The literature of the Song empire emphasized a return to old-time simplicity that expression in prose, and short tales called guwen were composed in great volume. A school of oral storytelling in the vernacular arose, and also conventional city enjoyed broad cultivation. Song poets achieved their biggest distinction, however, in the brand-new genre of the ci, sung poems the joy and also despair. These poems came to be the literary hallmark that the dynasty. For the diversity and also richness the its cultural achievements, the Song dynasty is remembered as one of China’s greatest.