's Early Globalizations: East Meets West (1200s-1600s)/China's Golden Age

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After the fall of the Han dynasty in 589 C.E., China descended into political and cultural turmoil. The bureaucracy collapsed and a “foreign” religion—Buddhism— replaced Confucianism as the primary force in cultural life. Decline was evident in most aspects of Chinese society—including in technology, the economy, and urban areas. But beginning in the latter sixth century, two successive dynasties restored the Chinese bureaucracy and economy. As we will see in this unit, the Tang and the Song reinvigorated the Chinese political system and revived the Confucian order. In fact, these influential dynasties ushered in China’s “golden age.”

In this unit, we will begin by examining the downfall of the Sui dynasty and the subsequent emergence of the Tang and Song dynasties. We will then turn our attention to the changes and developments in government, society, the arts, and the economy during this “golden age.”

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