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Home > Song Dynasty

Song Dynasty

Emperor Taizu of Song

According to the change of the territory and capital, Song Dynasty was divided into Northern Song (960 C 1127) and Southern Song (1127 C 1279). With a prosperous economy and radiant culture, the Song Dynasty was considered as another period of 'golden age' after the glorious Tang Dynasty (618 - 907).In 960, Zhao Kuangyin, the commander of the Imperial Guards serving the Later Zhou Dynasty (951 - 960), seized power through a coup in Chenqiao (Chenqiao Town of Henan Province). Then, he established the Song Dynasty and made Dongjing (currently Kaifeng City of Henan Province) the capital. Zhao Kuangyin took the advice of Zhaopu, prime minister, and had the power of the officials reduced to a certain extent. Thus the emperor's power exceeded that of all of the former dynasties, which had a positive effect on political stability. Meanwhile, the Northern Song also made some progress in economy, culture and foreign trade. However, in late Northern Song, the political corruption was serious and the regime began to decline. In 1127, the Northern Song Dynasty was destroyed by the Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234).

Emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty

Zhao Gou, King Kang of Northern Song, escaped to Yingtianfu (Shangqiu County of Henan Province), reestablished the Song Dynasty which became the the Southern Song Dynasty, and named himself Emperor Gaozong in 1127. Later, under the threat of the Jin army, he moved to Lin'an (Hangzhou) which was established as the capital in 1138.
During the Southern Song, the territory was limited to the south of the Yangtze River. The rulers pursued a peace policy. They answered to the King of the Jin Dynasty. They suppressed any rebels who fought against the Jin Dynasty, and even killed many patriotic generals. They also paid a large amount of tribute to the Jin Dynasty in order to maintain the peace. In 1267, the army of the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368) captured Lin'an, but the Northern Song Dynasty did not end. The remaining followers of King Yi Zhao Shi and King Guang Zhao Bing continued to resist the Yuan Dynasty, and Northern Song wasn't crushed until the last emperor Zhao Bing died in 1279.

Economy and Culture

Scholar in a Meadow, Chinese painting of the 11th century

Song Dynasty was a dynasty that produced more scientific and technological achievements than any other dynasties in Chinese history, and the culture then was also the most prosperous in ancient Chinese history. The earliest paper currency appeared in the Song Dynasty because of the development of the commodity economy. Three of the Four Great Inventions of China were invented and applied at that time; these being printing, compass and gunpowder. Meanwhile, a large number of poets and authors existed then such as Su Shi, Ouyang Xiu, Fan Zhongyan, Wang Anshi, Xin Qiji, Li Qingzhao and Zhu Xi. Calligraphers of the Song Dynasty are too numerous to mention, the most famous being Su Dongpo, Huang Tingjian, Mi Fu and Cai Xiang. With Zhang Zeduan as the representative, many notable painters also lived in the Song Dynasty.

The following Hangzhou Song Dynasty Tour may also interest you !

One Day Hangzhou Southern Song Dynasty History Tour
The Romance Of Song Dynasty Show

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