Developments in East Asia

Unit 1: c. 1200-1450

Main Ideas:

  • Song Dynasty used traditional Confucian methods to create an imperial bureaucracy to maintain its rule

  • Chinese culture flourished & shaped neighboring regions' cultures (Korea, Japan, Vietnam, etc.)

  • Buddhism spread to East Asia & influenced a variety of schools & practices

  • Song Dynasty's economy flourished & became more commercialized → More trade with South & Southeast Asia

Song Dynasty

 960-1279 

Key Ideas:

  • Confucian merit-based bureaucracy allowed the empire to maintain its rule

  • Economy flourished

    • Naval technology → Song merchants could reach Indian Ocean trade route

    • Specialized in iron, gunpowder, mechanical clocks, & other exotic goods

    • Population increase → More people could participate in commercial activities

  • Spread its cultural influence to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam

    • Adopted similar cultural practices & built palaces in a similar style to Song China

  • Buddhism developed into different schools & practices

    • Zen (Chan) Buddhism: Emphasized meditation & personal intuition​

    • Pure Land School: Emphasized devotion to the Buddha to reach salvation

    • Mahayana Buddhism: Emphasized following Buddha's teachings to advance in the cycle of samsara but staying in the cycle to help others

A city gate built in 1223 during the Song Dynasty

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Scale model of Chinese mechanical clock from 1092

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Quanfu Temple, a Buddhist Temple built in 1086 during the Song Dynasty

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Yuan Dynasty

1279-1368 

Key Ideas:

  • Ruled by Mongols, established by Khubilai Khan

  • Did not embrace Chinese cultural traditions & forbade Chinese people from learning Mongol culture

Khubilai Khan, the Mongol founder of the Yuan Dynasty

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Marco Polo (a Venetian merchant) at the court of Khubilai Khan. Polo came to Khan's court & helped Khan administer the Yuan Dynasty

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Ming Dynasty

 1368-1644 

Key Ideas:

  • Revived Chinese cultural traditions (e.g. Confucian bureaucracy) after they were lost in the Yuan Dynasty

  • Just like Song Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty promoted trade

    • Emperor Yongle sent Zheng He on 7 overseas trading voyages to establish Chinese dominance in the Indian Ocean

Ming Tombs, a series of tombs of Ming Rulers. This one was built in 1425

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Forbidden City, a series of palaces where the Ming Emperors lived. Commissioned in 1406

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