Friday, December 13, 2013

Song Dynasty-Two Lands-One Golden Age

In 960 CE the dysfunctional Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period of Imperial history was replaced by the creation of another Golden Age through leadership of the Song Dynasty. The Song were known for their many technological advances such as the bicycle chain, mechanical clock, compass, windmill and movable type that allowed the mass production of  books including the worlds first medical encyclopedia. Advances in the development of improved rice strains provided food surpluses that allowed further city and population growth throughout the empire.  Even the style government was revamped with the full establishment of the "Scholar-Official" Class of administrators.
Zhao Kuangyi-Emperor Taizu (960-976 CE) founder of the Song Dynasty.
Some of the China' greatest classical poets, artists and writers appeared during the 300 plus years of Song rule.  Scholars such as Mi Fu, Zhuxi, Ouyang Xiu, Su Shi, Sima Guang and Shen Kuo created works that are still studied and admired to this very day.
Yet the Song had many enemies, first the Jin took Northern China in 1127 CE restricting the Song to the Southern part of the country.  Here they were able to hold out for another two centuries till the 13th century when they finally fell to the overwhelming might of the Mongols in 1279.  Another Gold Age was laid waste as China was ruled by the foreign Yuan Dynasty for almost a century.

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