The Song Dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝; pinyin: Sòng Cháo; Wade-Giles: Sung Ch'ao; ) was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as first discernment of true north using a compass.
The Song Dynasty is divided into two distinct periods: the Northern Song and Southern Song. During the Northern Song (Chinese: 北宋, 960–1127), the Song capital was in the northern city of Bianjing (now Kaifeng) and the dynasty controlled most of inner China. The Southern Song (Chinese: 南宋, 1127–1279) refers to the period after the Song lost control of northern China to the Jin Dynasty. During this time, the Song court retreated south of the Yangtze River and established their capital at Lin'an (now Hangzhou). Although the Song Dynasty had lost control of the traditional birthplace of Chinese civilization along the Yellow River, the Song economy was not in ruins, as the Southern Song Empire contained 60 percent of China's population and a majority of the most productive agricultural land. The Southern Song Dynasty considerably bolstered its naval strength to defend its waters and land borders and to conduct maritime missions abroad.
To repel the Jin, and later the Mongols, the Song developed revolutionary new military technology augmented by the use of gunpowder. In 1234, the Jin Dynasty was conquered by the Mongols, who took control of northern China, maintaining uneasy relations with the Southern Song. Möngke Khan, the fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, died in 1259 while besieging the city of Chongqing. His younger brother Kublai Khan was proclaimed the new Great Khan, though his claim was only partially recognized by the Mongols in the west. In 1271, Kublai Khan was proclaimed the Emperor of China. After two decades of sporadic warfare, Kublai Khan's armies conquered the Song Dynasty in 1279. China was once again unified, under the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368).
The population of China doubled in size during the 10th and 11th centuries. This growth came through expanded rice cultivation in central and southern China, the use of early-ripening rice from southeast and southern Asia, and the production of abundant food surpluses. The Northern Song census recorded a population of roughly 50 million, much like the Han and Tang dynasties. This data is found in the Standard Histories. However, it is estimated that the Northern Song had a population of some 100 million people, and 200 million by the time of the Ming Dynasty. This dramatic increase of population fomented an economic revolution in premodern China. The expansion of the population was partially the cause for the gradual withdrawal of the central government from heavily regulating the market economy. A much larger populace also increased the importance of the lower gentry's role in grassroots administration and local affairs. Appointed officials in county and provincial centers relied upon the scholarly gentry for their services, sponsorship, and local supervision.
Social life during the Song was vibrant; social elites gathered to view and trade precious artworks, the populace intermingled at public festivals and private clubs, and cities had lively entertainment quarters. The spread of literature and knowledge was enhanced by the earlier invention of woodblock printing and the 11th-century invention of movable type printing. Pre-modern technology, science, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, and other intellectual pursuits flourished over the course of the Song. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused with Buddhist ideals, and emphasized a new organization of classic texts that brought out the core doctrine of Neo-Confucianism. Although the institution of the civil service examinations had existed since the Sui Dynasty, it became much more prominent in the Song period. This became a leading factor in the shift of an aristocratic elite to a bureaucratic elite.
Other articles related to "song dynasty, song, dynasty":
... List of Chinese inventions#A In addition to the Song gentry's antiquarian pursuits of art collecting, scholar-officials during the Song became highly interested in retrieving ancient relics from archaeological sites ... Scholar-officials of the Song period claimed to have discovered ancient bronze vessels that were created as far back as the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BCE) which bore the writing characters ... During the 11th century, Song scholars discovered the ancient shrine of Wu Liang (78–151 AD), a scholar of the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) they ...
... of political advice and stories from before the Han Dynasty, refers to Duke Xian of Jin (reigned 676–651 BCE) planting a handsome young man in a rival's court in order to influence the other ruler and ... conclusion that many emperors in the Han Dynasty had one or more male sex partners ... Writings from the Liu Song Dynasty claimed that homosexuality was as common as heterosexuality in the late 3rd century All the gentlemen and officials esteemed it ...
... of a series on Cannon History Artillery in the Song Dynasty Artillery in the Middle Ages Naval artillery in the Age of Sail Field artillery in the US ... See also Gunpowder artillery in the Song Dynasty and Technology of Song Dynasty The first documented battlefield use of gunpowder artillery took place on January 28, 1132, when Song General Han Shizhong used huochong ...
... The art of metallurgy during the Song Dynasty built upon the efforts of earlier Chinese dynasties, while new methods were incorporated ... The Chinese of the ancient Han Dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE) figured out how to create steel by smelting together the carbon intermediary of wrought iron and cast iron ... there were two new Chinese innovations of the Song Dynasty to create steel during the 11th century ...
... The following is a simplified family tree for the Song Dynasty, which ruled China between 960 and 1279 ... given are temple names, the form by which Song Emperors are most commonly known (with the exception of the last emperor, Bing, who is simply known by his given name) ... The Song Dynasty is often divided into the Northern Song (960–1127), which ended when the Song lost control of Northern China to the Jin Dynasty, and the Southern Song (1127–1279) adoption Xuanzu 宣祖 Taizu ...
Famous quotes containing the word song:
“On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me,
Pipe a song about a Lamb;
So I piped with merry chear.
Piper pipe that song again
So I piped, he wept to hear.
Drop thy pipe thy happy pipe
Sing thy songs of happy chear;
So I sung the same again
While he wept with joy to hear.”
—William Blake (17571827)