The Five Dynasties, the Song and the Yuan: the Later Period of Ascendancy of Chinese Feudalism

The Five Dynasties and Ten States

Chinese feudalism experienced the later period of its ascendancy during the Five Dynasties, the Song and the Yuan. This was also a period of transition from separate feudal regimes to the establishment of a central authority over the whole country. By the Five Dynasties are meant the Later Liang, the Later Tang, the Later Jin, the Later Han and the Later Zhou. These states had all been founded at one time or another, between 907 to 960 on China ‘s Central Plains. During this period there were altogether 13 emperors who ruled for a total of 53 years. Between 960 and 1368 there were the Northern Song and the Southern Song dynasties, jointly known as the Song Dynasty. There were 9 emperors of 7 generations during the Northern Song, covering a period from 960 to 1127. There were 7 emperors of 7 generations during the Southern Song, covering the period from 1127 to 1276. The Yuan Dynasty had 11 emperors of 6 generations between 1271 and1368. During the Five Dynasties, there were in addition ten small kingdoms known as the Ten States and also the state of Liao estab- lished by the Qidans. During the Northern and Southern Song dynas- ties, there were in North China the Liao, the Xixia (Western Xia), the Jin and the Mongol regimes and, in the southern and western parts of the country, such kingdoms as Gaochang, Xiliao (Western Liao), Tu- fan and Dali. Though its capital was taken by the enemy as early as1276, the Southern Song carried on its anti-Yuan struggle until 1279.

Of the Five Dynasties, the Later Liang established by Zhu Wen had the longest history of 17 years (907-923). The Later Tang estab-lished by Li Cunxu and Later Jin inaugurated by Shi Jingtang had a history of 13 (923-936) and 12 (936-947) years, respectively. The Later Han established by Liu Zhiyuan was of the shortest duration since it had a history of only 4 years (947-950). The Later Zhou creat-ed by Guo Wei had a history of 9 years (951-960). The founders of the Later Tang, the Later Jin and the Later Han were all of Shatuo origin, while those of the Later Liang and the Later Zhou were Hans. The Later Tang had in succession five emperors of whom two were the adopted sons of the preceding monarchs. Chai Rong, a Later Zhou monarch, was the adopted son of Guo Wei.

The Later Liang had jurisdiction over an area covering the major parts of present-day Henan , Shaanxi , Shandong , and Hubei provinces, in addition to all of present-day Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region a parts of Hebei , Shanxi , Gansu , Anhui and Jiangxi provinces. The Later Tang, Later Jin and Later Han controlled wider areas. The Later Zhou occupied the largest territory, with its boundary stretching as far south as the northern banks of the Changjiang River in Hubei , Anhui and Jiangsu provinces. Notwithstanding the various sizes of their ter-ritories, these states played an important role politically, as all feudal forces in the various parts of the country, more or less, bowed to the rule. The Later Tang made Luoyang its capital, while the Later Liang and the three other dynasties all had their capital at Kaifeng .

The Ten States in the Five Dynasties period included the state of Wu founded by Yang Xingmi, the state of Wuyue by Qian Liu, the state of Southern Han by Liu Yin, the state of Chu by Ma Yin, the state of Former Shu by Wang Jian and finally, the state of Min by Wang Shenzhi. These states were established about the time when the Later Liang was founded. The founders of these states formerly had all been garrison commanders during the later part of the Tang Dynasty. Gao Jixing, a garrison commander during the period of the Later Liang, founded the state of Jingnan, also known as Nanping, after Later Liang had been exterminated. The state was the smallest among the Ten States. The state of Later Shu founded by Meng Zhixiang, the state of Southern Tang by Xu Zhigao, and the state of Northern Han by Liu Chong appeared somewhat later than the others, as they were established, respectively, towards the end of the Later Tang, early during the Later Jin, and early during the Later Zhou.

The quick succession of dynasties after the Later Liang indicated the political confusion that existed then. Without an exception, the founder of one dynasty was a garrison commander of the preceding dynasty who then usurped the throne. Besides, members of the rulingelite fought among themselves to seize power. Zhu Wen, founder of the Later Liang, was killed by one of his sonswho, in turn, met his death at the hands of his younger brother, and the latter succeeded in gaining the throne. Both the second and the fourth monarches of the Later Tang became emperors by armed force. For the seizure of power, ferocious battles were fought among rivals. On the Central Plains, people and their economy suffered as a result of wars, exorbitant taxes, severe punishments, and Draconian laws. Time and again, peasant uprisings broke out. In 920, Wu Yi and Dong Yi led peasants to stage an uprising in Chengzhou (modern Huaiyang , Henan ), the best known of all the uprisings during the Five Dynasties. It dealt a heavy blow to the Later Liang regime which had to call upon the imperial army and the armies from several regions to suppress it.

Contrary to the situation on the Central Plains where one dynasty followed another in quick succession and war raged on constantly, there was relative peace lasting anywhere from 20 to 50 years in such states as the Former Shu, Later Shu, Wuyue, Southern Tang, and Southern Han. Being free from ravages of war, these states made pro-gress in social economy. Large numbers of refugees fleeing wars from the Central Plains descended on these states. These refugees brought with them not only production technology but also academic learning and culture.

In literature, ci was most popular during the Five Dynasties. As a poetic form, it was highly developed during the Former Shu, Later Shu, Southern Tang. Li Yu (937-978), the last monarch of the South-ern Tang, was a famous ci poet.

During the Five Dynasties there was in North China a Qidan tribe, later known as Liao, that, with the passage of time, became very strong. By the time when Zhu Wen founded the Later Liang., Yelu Abaoji had accomplished the unification of the Qidan tribe. In 916, Abaoji ascended the throne. During the period of the Later Liang and Later Tang, the Qidans made frequent intrusions into present-day Hebei and Shanxi provinces for the purpose of raiding; wherever they went, they carried off people and their property. Yelii Deguang, son of Abaoji, aided Shi Jingtang in founding the Later Jin. In return, Shi Jingtang ceded to the Qidan sixteen districts located in the northern sections of modern Hebei and Shanxi provinces. He also referred to himself as a “filial emperor”. After he died he was succeeded by his son Shi Chonggui, who referred to himself as the Qidan’s ” grandson ” but not its ” subject “. On the ground that Shi had shown disrespect, Yelti Deguang marched his army southward and took Kaifeng in 946. After bringing an end to the Later Jin, he turned his men loose among the civilian populace, causing great havoc on the Central Plains. People, enraged, rose in resistance, in groups that were as large as “sever-al hundred thousand men” or as small as “one thousand”. In the end, they cleared the Central Plains of the invaders.

Towards the end of the Five Dynasties, Guo Wei, emperor of the Later Zhou, introduced political and economical reforms. Rents and taxes were reduced, sentences for committing crimes lightened, and corrupt officials punished. Favourable conditions for agricultural production were thus created. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked from other places to the Later Zhou for settlement. In 954, shortly after Guo Wei died, Liu Chong of the Northern Han, who had juris-diction over present-day Shanxi Province , formed an alliance with the Qidan to attack the Later Zhou. Chai Rong took personal command of the Later Zhou’s army and emgaged Liu Choog at Gaoping (modern Gaoping County , Shanxi ) where he exacted a heavy toll of the North- ern Han army. Liu Chong fled with a hundred or so of his surviving cavalrymen. After this battle, Chai Rong began to think seriously of unifying the country. He rectified the disipline of his army. To reha-bilitate the agricultural economy of the Central Plains, he paid atten-tion to a fair exaction of rents and taxes and the construction of water conservancy projects. With his territory extending as far south as the northern bank of the Changjiang River, he succeeded in recovering a number of strategic points from Qidan, such as Ningzhou (modern Qingxian County, Hebei), Yijinguan Pass and Yukouguan Pass (mod-em Baxian County, Hebei), Waqiaoguan Pass (modern Xiongxian County, Hebei), Mozhou (modern Renqiu County, Hebei), Yingzhou(modern Hejian County, Hebei). All this had paved the way for the Northern Song, during a later period, to bring to an end the prolonged division of the country and to establish a central authority over all of China .

The history of the Five Dynasties was a continuation of the histo-ry of the late part of the Tang Dynasty during which various frontier commanders maintained separatist regimes and fought among themselves. It was also a period during which the tendency towards a single central authority for the country began. It witnessed the shifting of the economic centre to the South.

Rise and Fall of the Northern Song;Uprisings by Wang Xiaobo and Fang La

The Ten States

1.The six states that rose the earliest:

Wu(920–937)—Occupied part of modern Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi and Hubei provinces. Conquered by the Southern Tang.

Wuyue(907–978)—-Occupied part of modern Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. Conquered by the Northern Song.

Southern Han(907–971)—-Occupied a major part of modern Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. Conquered by the Northern Song.

Chu(907–951)—-Occupied modern Hunan Province and the northereastern section of modern Guangxi Province. Conquered by the Southern Tang.

Chu (907–945)—Occupied modern Sichuan Province, the southeastrn section of modern Gansu and southern section of mdoern Shannxi, and the western section of modern Hubei provinces. Conquered by the Later Tang.

Min(909–945)—-Occupied modern Fujian Province. Conquered by the Southern Tang.

2.The state that rose comparatively late:

Jingnan(Nanping,924–963)—-Occupied preasent-day Jingling and Gong’an counties of Hubei Province.Conquered by the Northern Song.

3.The three states that rose the latest:

Later Shu(934-965)—-Occupied modern Sichuan Province, the southeastern section of modern Gansu, the southern section of modern Shaanxi and the western section of modern Hubei provinces. Conquered by the Northern Song.

Southern Tang(937–975)—-Occupied the southern sections of modern Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, Fujian Province, Jiangxi Province, Hunan Province, and the eastern section of modern Hubei Province. Conquered by the Northern Song.

Northern Han(951-979)—-Occupied the northern section of modern Shanxi and part of modern Shannxi and Hebei provinces. Conquered by the Northern Song.

During the period from 960 to 997, Northern Song was at its early and rising state. The emperors were then Zhao Kuangyin (Em- peror Tai Zu) and Zhao Kuangyi (Emperor Tai Zong).

In 960, Zhao Kuangyin, Commander of the Later Zhou’s imperi-al army, led a revolt against the throne with the support of his brother Zhao Kuangyi and his councillor Zhao Pu. Thus he seized the power of the Later Zhou and founded the dynasty of Northern Song. The capital remained at Kaifeng , which was renamed Dongjing (Eastern Capital). It took fifteen years for the Northern Song to conquer the four states of Jingnan, later Shu, Southern Han and Southern Tang. In978 and 979, Zhao Kuangyi conquered the Wuyue and the Northern Han, thus bringing about national unification to a certain extent. He planned to retake areas of modern Hebei and Shanxi provinces, then occupied by the Liao. But he failed in his attempt as his army suffered disastrous defeats at Gaolianghe (around present-day Beijing ) in 979 and at Qigouguan Pass (southwest of modern Zhuoxian County , Hebei ) in 986. From then on, the Northern Song became defensive in its relation with the Liao.

Early during the Northern Song Dynasty, the rulers did their best to strengthen the feudal autocracy. High posts in various regions, formerly held by military officers, were now occupied by civil offi-cials. Local appointments above the county level were now replaced by royal appointments. The best of local troops was incorporated into and absorbed by the central army, and there were special institutions in the central government that controlled local finance. The centralized power in the government was in turn distributed among many branches so as to make sure that no branch of government would have too much power to the detriment of the royal interest. Three central agencies, political, military and financial, were placed under the direct control of the royal house. The Secretariat took charge of political affairs, but its head, the prime minister, invested with executive power, had no control over the nation’s military affairs. There was the Mili-tary Council with its chancellor invested with the power of directing all military units except the imperial army. The chancellor of the treasury handled all tax revenue and government expenditure. The imperial army was divided into three branches, each directly under the command of one marshal. There was also a Censorate, headed by a Grand Censor, with the duty of supervising all government officials. A system as described above proved to be very effective in preventing local forces from establishing separatist feudal regimes and in warding off any threat from high ministers to the throne. But over- concentration of power in the royal house, as well as those measures adopted to curb the power of high ministers, especially that of high military officers, gave rise to political corruption in the upper stratum of officialdom and weakened the fighting ability of the Northern Song when confronted with military threat from the outside.

Early during the Northern Song Dynasty, class contradictions remained acute, and peasant uprisings staged by peasants, soldiers and ethnic minorities erupted time and again. In 993, Wang Xiaobo, a poverty-stricken man, started an uprising in Qingchen (to the south- west of modern Guanxian County , Sichuan ). Voicing the demand of the masses of peasants for the right to property, he openly raised the slogan of “equal distribution of wealth between the poorand the rich”. This was a new development as compared to the demand for the right to existence raised by peasants during previous uprisings since the Qin and Han dynasties. The insurgent army grew fast. Early in 994, Wang Xiaobo was killed by a flying arrow. Li Shun succeeded him as commander and continued the fight. After taking Chengdu and seizing control of a vast expanse of land south of Jiange and north of Wuxia, he founded a peasant regime named the Great Shu. But he made the mistake of underestimating the strength of the enemy. Chengdu fell into the hands of the Northern Song army in the summer, and 30,000 men, including Li, were killed in action. In 995, the insurgent army collapsed.

The middle era of the Northern Song Dynasty, that covered the reigns of Emperors Zhen Zong, Ren Zong and Ying Zong (997-1967), was a period of decline. The bureaucracy, including the military bureaucracy, became more and more inflated, and political corruption went from bad to worse. While the peasants were weighted down by ever harsher exploitation, the government treasury became more and more depleted. The peasant uprisings were bigger and more frequent than those in the early period of the Northern Song. Extemally, the Northern Song was threatened by the Liao and by the rising states of Xia in the northwest. In 1004, the Northern Song army routed a Liao force of many thousand that came to the south to raid Chinese borders. Yet, when the word came that the Liao troops had entered Tanzhou(modern Puyang County, Hebei ) and were approaching Dongjing, Emperor Zhen Zong was so frightened that he wanted to move his capital to the south. Prime Minister Kou Zhun was strongly opposed to this and proposed instead that the emperor direct the battle. Zhen Zong took his advice. Though assuming command, he still planned to make peace. Early in 1005, he concluded a pact with the Liao, which stipulated that the Northern Song deliver an annual amount of 100,000 taels of silver and 200,000 bolts of silk to Liao. In 1044, when the Liao further threatened to use force, Emperor Ren Zong agreed to add another 100,000 taels of silver and an equal number of bolts of silk in exchange for temporary tranquillity on the northern border. During the period from 1040 to 1042, three battles were fought between the Northern Song and the Xia at, respectively, Yanzhou (modern Yan’an city, Shaanxi ), Haoshuichuan (Tianshuihe, east of modern Longde County , Gansu ) and Weizhou (modem Pingliang County, Gansu ). As Northern Song was decisively defeated in each of these battles, Em-peror Ren Zong agreed in 1044 to present the Xia with an annual gift of silver and silk in exchange for peace on its northwestern border.

Hopeless as Emperor Zhen Zong found himself both politically and militarily, he turned his thoughts to ideological control of the people and had corresponding new measures adopted. In addition to wor-shipping Confucius, people were encouraged to worship Buddhist and Taoist deities. As a new method to benumb the people’s will, the new measures were even more effective as compared to the worship of Confucius alone. During the middle period of the Northern Song a new school known as Neo-Confucianism came into existence. Combining Confucianism with Buddhism and Taoism, it defined the doc-trines of Confucius in such a way as to serve better the interests of the landlord class. As progenitor of this school, Zhou Dunyi (1016-1073) put forward the idea of “the Absolute” which, he said, was the essence of the universe that transcended all material things. According to him, feudal order was a manifestation of “the Absolute” in social relations. Hence the eternity of the feudal system. Zhou Dunyi wrote An Ex-planation of the Diagram of the Absolute (Taiji Tu Shuo). His philoso-phy falls into the category of objective idealism. A contemporary of Zhou Dunyi, Zhang Zai (1020-1077), held the view that the materialist “vitality” was the essence of all things in the universe. According to him, the interaction between the yin and the yang led to changes in the “vitality” and in the course of changes, things were formed. Proceed-ing from the idealist thought that men and universe were one, he be-lieved that the people and the monarchs formed an inseparable whole. In his view, contradictions between them could be eased out.

In the period from 1067 to 1127, which covered the reigns of Emperors Shen Zong, Zhe Zong, Hui Zong, and Qin Zong, the North-ern Song proceeded from decline to extinction. Early during the reign of Shen Zong, two political factions developed among the high offi-cials. Those who proposed reforms advocated the enactment of “New Laws” that would take away part of the power from the privileged class so as to boost agricultural production and increase revenue for the government. But the conservatives were opposed to the enactment of “New Laws”. According to them the “New Laws” would bring harm instead of higher production. However, under the auspices of Emperor Shen Zong the reform under the “New Laws” was carried out between 1070 and 1074. But there were difficulties. Emperor Shen Zong constantly wavered when confronted with objections to the “New Laws” raised by the conservatives. Beginning with 1085 the conservatives and the reformers took turns in winning the upper hand and thus the control of the government. It was not until the early twelfth century that struggles between the two factions finally came to an end.

The struggle between the reformers and the conservatives was al-so carried to the academic field. It was as acute as the political strug-gle and lasted much longer. The leading reformer, Wang Anshi (1021-1086), was a philosophical materialist. He maintained that “primordial vitality” was the essence of the universe, and the movement of matter was governed by natural laws. Though these laws could not be changed, men could take initiative and should not resign themselves to socalled “fate”. Wang Anshi’s theory of “New Learning” served as his theoretical basis in introducing the “New Laws”.

Shen Kuo (1031-1095), another reformer, was also a materialist. His range as a scientist was immense. He knew mathematics, astron-omy, calendar making, geography, cartography, geology, meteorology, physics, chemistry, metallurgy, the manufacture of weaponry, water conservancy, botany, zoology, agriculture, medicine, and pharmacol- ogy. He was outstanding in proposing many original ideas. As to the summation of arithematic series of second order, he also had his own method. By making a summation of circumference and height to extract the length of a curve, he proposed improvement on observatory instruments andcalendar making. He went to great length in discussing the properties of the compass and found, in his own way, the difference between the true north and magnetic north.

Sima Guang (1019-86) was a leading conservative and an idealist advocating fatalism. He believed that fate was the supreme controller that determined the difference between the high and the low, between the rich and the poor, between the intelligent and the benighted, and between a long and a short life. People, therefore, should live in com-plete resignation to their fate. Any disobedience, he said, would augur ill. Stressing the importance of following “rites” he urged strict obser-vance of the feudal order and its hierarchic details. He wrote History as a Mirror (Zi Zhi Tong Jian) which, consisting of 294 juan, took him19 years to complete. Recording events from the beginning of the Warring States to the end of the Later Zhou, it was a work of great historic value. He also wrote a number of philosophical works.

Cheng Hao (1032-1085), from Luoyang , was a conservative theoretician. Together with his brother Cheng Yi (1033-1107) he be-came a principal exponent of Neo-Confucianism first advocated by Zhou Dunyi. Known as the “Cheng Brothers”, they were the first to advance the idea of “reason” as the essence of the universe, which had existed before anything else. According to them, “there is only one reason under heaven”, men and all material things were just one, forming an inseparable whole. Different as people were in social posi-tion, they said, each must act according to his duties and thus conform to “reason”. A theory of this kind also falls into the category of objec-tive idealism, according to which the broad masses must resign them-selves to a life of poverty and humiliation, place themselves at the disposal of the feudal order, and refrain from the thought of changing things.

Amid factional strifes there was a faction led by Su Shi (1036-1101). In his early years, he had advocated political reform; later he opposed the “New Laws”. Academically, he disagreed with both Wang Anshi and the Cheng Brothers. His major achievement was in literature where he took a stand against the literary style of flowery parallelisms and favoured the classic form of prose. Besides, he preferred ci to shi when writing poetry. Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072), a statesman as well as a man of letters, was the main advocate of the classic style of prose-writing. Both Sima Guang and Wang Anshi were great classic essayists. Su Shi, his father Su Xun, and his brother Su Che, jointly known as the “Three Sus”, were stalwarts of classic writ- ing. Ouyang Xiu, Liu Yong and Zhou Bangyan, as ci poets, were known for their description of delicate feelings of young men and young women and their portrayal of the sentiments of people parting with each other. Su Shi, however, broke through confines of this kind as he wrote in a plain and graceful style of his own.

The factional struggles during the latter part of the Northern Song, a reflection of social contradictions, showed that the rulers found themselves in a dilemma: they wanted to carry out reforms but they were unable to. The inability of Wang Anshi to implement his reform programmes entailed social disturbances. By the time of Emperor Hui Zong’s reign, political struggles between various factions had tempo- rarily stopped, but worse corruption was found among the rulers. Ruthless exploitation became intolerable to the people, especially in the southeastern section of the country. In 1120, Fang La staged a peasant uprising in Qingxi (modern Chun’an County, Zhejiang). In three months he and his men took control of six prefectures and 52 counties in modern Zhejiang and Anhui provinces, while their forces grew from one thousand to one hundred thousand men and then to a million. After establishing his peasant regime, Fang La claimed that he could unify the country in ten years. The claim frightened the rulers. They sent a large force on a southward march and defeated Fang La and his men after a bitter fight that persisted for more than one year. In1121, Fang La himself was taken prisoner, and soon put to death. But his forces carried on the fight for another year.

Before the uprising Fang La had carried out propaganda on Manichaeism among his followers and organized their activities in a Manicaean way. Within the organization impoverished people would receive help and travellers would be provided with food and shelter. Members were organized down to the basic units, and some of them were assigned to specific tasks such as organizing religious activities and looking after funds contributed by followers. All this indicates that Fang La had done good groundwork among his forces before he started the uprising. During the uprising, he condemned the Song rul-ers for despoiling the peasants provide themselves with all the aim of the uprising, he declared, of their fruits of labour in order to luxuries for an extravagant life. The was to overthrow the Northern Song regime so as to bring improvement to the livelihood of the peasants. His uprising, like that led by Wang Xiaobo, was economically oriented and thus contained a new historical meaning. Before him, there was a peasant rebellion led by Song Jiang in Shandong Province . Legends about this peasant army are many and varied.

Before Fang La started his uprising, the Northern Song regime sent an emissary to the state of Jin to negotiate an agreement for a joint attack on the Liao. But, attacking Liao, the Song forces suffered repeated defeats. In 1125, following its conquest of the Liao, the Jin began an allout attack on the Northern Song. Two years later, in 1127, it took Dongjing, capital of the Northern Song. By then Emperor Hui Zong had abdicated in favour of his son, Emperor Qin Zong. More than three thousand people, including Emperor Qin Zong and his father Hui Zong, their wives and concubines, other members of the royal family and court ministers, were taken captive and carried off northward to the Jin.

The Liao, the Xia and the Jin:Their Relations with the Northern Song

The Liao, the Xia, and the Jin were three regimes controlled by the aristocrats of China ‘s ethnic minorities. Despite the various political and military contradictions among them and in their relations with the Northern Song, some compromises were made, and economic and cultural exchanges with the Northern Song developed.

The Liao was a regime where the Qidan ethnic group dominated. The ethnic group was an old one, and its activities centred on the val-ley of the Xar Moron River on the upper reaches of the Liaohe River in today’s Liaoning Province . Rising during an unknown period in history, the Qidans consisted of eight tribes. Once every three years, they elected a Khan as their leader. In 907, Yelu Abaoji was elected. After his election, he brushed aside the electoral system and never gave up his position as the Khan till his death. In 916, he succeeded in killing the other tribal leaders and ascended to the throne, to be known later as Emperor Tai Zu of the Liao. He founded the state of Qidan and changed the electoral system to a hereditary one.

The founding of the state of Qidan coincided with a process of social changes and Sinification. During his lifetime, Yelii Abaoji had employed a number of Han people as his political advisers and adopted, to a certain extent, the Han feudal form of production. Formarly, the Qidan people had led a nomadic life; they were also en-gaged in fishing and hunting. They condemned a large number of Han captives as slaves. Later, influenced by the Hen Chinese, they gradually took to agriculture and learned iron-smelting and other techniques in production. Han influence brought about a change in Qidan life as well as an improvement for the life of Han captives. Towns and cities were built; in them were the emancipated former Han slaves who were now engaged in agriculture and handicraft industry, as they had been on the Central Plains before their captivity. To govern the state, the Qidan rulers adopted a dual system, the southern system for the Han Chinese and the northern system for the Qidans and ethnic groups other than the Han Chinese. The former was staffed by Han Chinese and Qidans, responsible for the collection of taxes and other exactions, and the latter was staffed by the Qidans only.

Abaoji went out to conquer, time and again, in order to expand the territory of the Qidan. At the zenith of his power, he had control over a large area extending as far east as the Sea of Japan, as far west as the Altay Mountains, as far north as the Kerulen River and as far south as modern Xiongxian County, Hebei. In 926, after the death of Abaoji, Yelti Deguang inherited the throne, known to historians as Emperor Tai Zong. In 947 he changed the title of his nation to Liao.

During the early years of the Northern Song, the Liao posed a major threat from the north. During the period between 979 and 986, having inflicted two serious defeats on the Northern Song army, the Liao became a superior power. In 1004, a peace pact was concluded at Tanzhou, under which the Liao obtained a bountiful annual gift of silver and silk from the Northern Song, while Emperor Zhen Zong had to call Empress Dowager Xiao of the Liao his aunt and take Sheng Zong of the Liao as his brother. Later, the Northern Song opened mar-kets on its north border for trade and exchanged its tea, silk, bast-fibre fabrics, glutinous rice, porcelain, books, rhinoceros horns, ivory and spice for the Liao’s sheep, horses, camels, hides, and wool. As a result, the Han Chinese strengthened their ties with the Qidan and other eth-nic groups, resulting in a richer economic and cultural life for all concerned.

The Xia was a regime predominated by a Tibetan tribe named Dangxiang, the members of which formerly lived in the modem Qinghai and the northwestem section of Sichuan . Later they settled down in the adjacent area of modem Shaanxi and Gansu and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Approximately in the ninth century, this tribal people began to take up agriculture in addition to stockbreeding. From the end of the Tang Dynasty to the early period of the Northern Song, the control over the area by a Dangxiang Cief had all along been recognized by the Han Chinese authorities. He accepted the sur-name of the Chinese royal house awarded to him. During the Tang Dynasty, his sumame would be Li which was changed to Zhao at the time of the Northern Song. The Dangxiangs often made a common cause with Liao to fight against the Northern Song.

In 1032, after Zhao Yuanhao had become chief of the Dangxiang tribe, he extended his influence to the Gansu Corridor. In 1038, Yuan- hao assumed the imperial title and called his new regime Da Xia or Great Xia, known to historians as Xi Xia or West Xia. The capital was Xingqing (Yingchuan, capital city of modem Ningxia Autonomous Region). His kingdom extended as far east as the Huanghe River, as far west as Yumen (to the west of modem Dunhuang County, Gansu), as far south as Xiaoguan (to the southeast of modem Guyuan County, Ningxia), and as far north as the Gobi Desert. In his kingdom were people of different ethnic groups at various stages of development, but the Dangxiangs were still at the stage of transition from slavery to feudalism.

Yuanhao knew Chinese as well as Tibetan, He had a good back-ground in Buddhist scriptures and military and legal works by the Han Chinese. He modelled his administrative organs after those of the Tang and Song. His officials were members of ethnic minorities as well as the Han Chinese.

Following a traditional policy, Yuanhao allied himself with Liao against Song. During the period between 1040 and 1042, the Song and the Xia were three times at war, resulting in heavy economic burden on the people of both sides and a great loss of lives. Trade came to a stop; shortages of grain and daily necessities were badly felt in the Xia creating difficulties in people’s live. In 1044, the Song and Xia con-cluded a peace pact under which the Xia, pledging allegiance to the Song, declared itself a vassal state. In return, it received from the Song an annual gift of 72,000 taels of silver, 153,000 bolts of silk and30,000 fin of tea. In addition, Song lifted its ban on trade with Xia on its border.

The Jin was a regime predominated by the Niizhens, a tribe then living in the Songhua River valley. After the rise of the Qidans, they were subjected to the rule of the Liao. In 1114, the Niizhens were called upon by their outstanding leader Aguda to fight for the over- throw of the rule of the Liao. In the battles at Ningjiangzhou (now Wujiazhan, Fuyu County , Jilin ) and at Chuhedian (now Renjiadian, Fuyu County , Jilin ), a Niizhen force of less than 20,000 routed a Liao army of several hundred thousand. The Ntizhen force grew speedily after the victory. In 1115, Aguda, having succeeded in throwing off the yoke of the Liao, assumed the imperial title. He was known to histori-ans as Emperor Tai Zu, and his dynastic title was Jin. Soon after the founding of the Jin, places of strategic importance to Liao, such as Huanglongfu (modern Nong’an County, Jilin), fell into the hands of the Niizhens. Finding encouragement in this development, oppressed tribes all rose against Liao rule.

Seeing that the Liao was in a precarious state, Emperor Hui Zong of the Northern Song concluded an alliance with the Jin for a joint attack against Liao. It was agreed that after defeating the Liao, the Song would retrieve the territories previously ceded to the Qidan and that the Jin would receive from the Song the same amount of silver and silk that had been previously given to the Liao. In 1122, the war against the Liao began. Though Song troops tried more than once to take Yanjing (now Beijing ), capital of Liao, they were beaten back, Later, the Jin troops took Yanjing and refused to withdraw. Emperor Hui Zong was obligated to pay the Jin 1,000,000 strings of coins each year in exchange for the return of the city of Yanjiang and a few other places.

In 1125, Emperor Tian Zuo of the Liao was captured by the Jin when he tried to flee. With his capture the Liao regime came to an end. By then the Jin ruler Aguda had died, and had been succeeded by Wuqimai, later known as Emperor Tai Zong. In the year before the Jin conquered the Liao, Yelu Dashi, a royal descendant of the Liao, had taken a part of the Liao army to the area south and north of the Tianshan Mountains and Central Asia, where he founded a new regime known as the West Liao with its capital at Husiwoerduo(near Tokmak in the U.S.S.R). It lasted more than ninety years.

In the year of its conquest of the Liao, the Jin attacked the Song on two fronts, from the west and from the east. The western detachment was blocked at Taiyuan and could not advance further. The forces on the eastern route, however, quickly took Yanjing, crossed the Huanghe River, and reached Song’s capital Dongjing. Emperor Qin Zong appointed Li Gang, who had advocated resistance, to the position of commander. Thanks to the co-operation between the military and the civilians, Li repeatedly beat back the Jin attack. But, subject to the influence of the capitulationists around him, Emperor Qin Zong showed no firm will to fight; and, to make peace with the Jin, the removed Li Gang from his command and ceded land and paid indemnities to the Jin. Headed by a student at the Imperial Academy named Chen Dong, people in the capital, exasperated, gathered in tens of thousands in front of the palace to protest against the removal of Li Gang and to demand resolute resistance against the Jin. Emperor Qin Zong yielded to popular pressure by reinstating Li Gang. Seeing the indomitable fighting will on the part of the Song people and the difficulty of taking the capital, the Jin forces withdrew. Once the enemy was gone, the Song monarch and high officials went back to their old way of life, whiling their time away in corruption, Li Gang was again dismissed. Once again, the Jin forces, in the autumn of 1126, marched southward and captured Dongjing the next year. The northern Song regime came to an end. The rise of Jin of supreme power was as fast as a summer storm. Only eleven years elapsed between Aguda’s assumption of imperial title and the conquest of the Liao. The very next year after Liao was conquered, the Northern Song was subjugated too.

The Liao, the Xia, and the Jin each had its own written language employed in both private and public communication, in currencies, and in the translation of Chinese Confucian books or the translation of Chinese or Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. The written languages of the Qidan and Nuzhen people were a phonetic variation of the written script of the Han Chinese. They were of two kinds: the formal and the informal. The formal written script of the Qidan people was created in920 and the informal variety somewhat later. The formal variety for the Ntizhen people was invented in 1119, and the informal variety in1138. Created in 1036-38, the written language of the West Xia was also an ideographic script modelled after the Han written language. The written script of the Qidan became obsolete by the early period of the Jin, but the written script of the West Xia was in use in some localities as late as the fifteenth century.

Rival Regimes of the Song and the Jin; Uprisings by Zhong Xiang, Yang Yao and the Red Jackets

The year 1127 saw Zhao Gou, a brother of Emperor Qin Zong assume the imperial title at Nanjing (modern Shangqiu , Henan Prov-ince). The continuation of the Northern Song regime in South China is, known to historians as the Southern Song, and Zhao Gou is referred to as Emperor Gao Zong. In 1138, he established his capital at Linar (modern Hangzhou , Zhejiang Province).

The state of Jin was strong and prosperous during the thirty-fhirty years of Emperor Gao Zong’s reign. The Jin was then ruled by Em-perors Tai Zong and Xi Zong and Prince Hai Ling. Being strong, it was offensive oriented vis-a-vis Song. Early during Emperor Gao Zong’s reign, large numbers of people in the north joined organiza-tions to resist the Jin, a situation favourable to Song. But Gao Zong was contented with the part of China in the southeast then under his control, and he had no plan to recover the lost Central Plains.

In the autumn of 1128, Wanyan Zongbi of the Jin led his army to Shandong and then took Xuzhou . Passing across the Huai River , he and his men soon drove near Yangzhou , to which Emperor Gao Zong had just fled. In great panic, the emperor fled first to Hangzhou , and then to the East China Sea . Since there was no organized resistance the Jin forces went a long distance with complete ease.

The principal aim of the Jin troops’ southward march proved t (be raiding to capture men and valuables from the rich south and take them to the north. For the time being, they had no intention of putting this vast area under their direct control. Early in 1130, satisfied with the war booty they had acquired, the Jin forces started withdrawing to the north. Wanyan Zougbi had not expected that he and his men would be intercepted on their homeward journey. At Hangtiandang ( to the northeast of modern Nanjing City , Jiangsu ), theywere held by Han ShiZhong a Song general, for 48 days. Han and his eight thousand men inflicted heavy losses on Zongbi who claimed to have a force of several hundred thousand. When the invaders tried to ferry across the Changjiang River at Jing’anzhen, General Yue Fei intercepted them and delivered another aevere blow. Shizhong, a Song general, for 48 days. Han and his eight thousand men inflicted heavy losses on Zongbi who claimed to have a force of several hundred thousand. When the invaders tried to ferry across the Changjiang River at Jing’anzhen, General Yue Fei intercepted them and delivered another severe blow.

In the autumn of 1130, the Jin troops attacked in Shaanxi . When arriving at Heshangyuan (to the northwest of Baoji , Shaanxi Province) in the following year, they met defeat at the hands of two Song gener-als named Wu Jie and Wu Lin. In the battle, Zongbi himself was in-jured by a flying arrow. A large number of his men were taken pris-oner.

Beginning in 1133, several times the Jin forces marched south-ward. There were victories and defeats on both sides. The Song forces won several important battles. In 1133, Wu Jie and his men repulsed the Jin attack on Shaanxi and Sichuan . In 1134, Yue Fei recovered Xiangyang and five other prefectures in northern Hubei and southern Henan . In !140, Liu Qi and his twenty thousand men put to flight more than one hundred thousand troops of the Jin at Shunchang (mod-em Fuyang County, Anhui) and effectively destroyed the cream of the Jin forces. In that same year, Yue Fei recovered Zhengzhou and Luoy-ang and then won a decisive battle at Yancheng (in modem Henan ). From Yancheng he moved to Zhuxianzhen which was only forty to fifty li from Dongjing. The Jin commander Zongbi admitted that he had never met a setback like this in his whole life as a soldier. Yue Fei (1103-41) was a native of Tangyin in modem Henan Province . After joining the army as a volunteer he distinguished himself in many bat- ties. With the passage of time, the men he led became so formidable in battle that there was a saying among the people that “it is easier to move a mountain than to defeat a Yue Fei army”.

But victories on the battlefield did not change Emperor Gao Zong’s determination to sue for peace. Great victories even aroused in him the suspicion that his generals might become too strong to be loyal to him. He appointed Qin Hui, a man who claimed that he had fled from the enemy camp, to be his prime minister, who took upon himself the mission of negotiating peace. Peace activities intensified even after Xiangyang and five other prefectures had been recovered by Yue Fei’s army. In 1139, an imperial edict from the Jin arrived demanding of Song to pay an annual tribute of 250,000 taels of silver and 250,000 bolts of silk, and the Song accepted the demand. Soon after his triumph at Yancheng, Yue Fei was summarily called back from the front and, once back, was thrown into prison on false charges. In the winter of 1141, the Song accepted the Jin’s demand for large territories. The new boundary began in the west at the Dasanguan (to the southwest of modern Baoji , Shaanxi ) and ended in the east at the middle stream of the Huaishui River . The Song, from then on, had to act faithfully as a subject state to the Jin and pay annual tribute in silver and silk. Han Shizhong and other anti-Jin generals were relieved of their command; Yue Fei was put to death in compliance with the Jin’ s demand.

After peace had been concluded with Song, Zongbi took all the military and political power of the Jin into his hand. Meanwhile, a factional strife developed among the Jin’s nobility. After 1148, when Zongbi died, the strifes became all the more pronounced. In 1149, Wanyan Liang, having murdered Emperor Xi Zong, acceded to the throne, to be known later as Prince Hai Ling. In preparation for the conquest of the Song, he carried out political reforms so as to strengthen the power of the emperor. In 1153 he moved the Jin’s poli-tical centre from Huining (present-day Baichengzi, located in the southern section of Acheng County , Heilongjiang ), to Yanjing, known also as Zhongdu (Middle Capital). In 1158, he ordered his ministers to build palaces in Kaifeng . In 1161, he personally led his troops of 600,000 men to march southward along four routes. The garrison forces of the Song stationed to the east and west of the Huai River collapsed without a fight. Stricken with panic, Emperor Gao Zong once again wanted to seek refuge on the sea. The situation was eased somewhat when Yu Yunwen won a resounding victory over the invad-ers north of the Changjiang River which Wanyan Liang attempted to pass across. Not long after his defeat, Wanyan Liang learned that Wanyan Yong, later known as Emperor Shi Zong, had started a rebel-lion and called himself emperor. Seeking a quick conquest of Song so he could move his forces northward to put down the rebellion, Wan-yan Liang set a deadline for his troops to cross the Changjiang River . The troops responded with a mutiny and killed him with a barrage of arrows. His death put an end to his plan of seizing south China .

In 1162, Emperor Gao Zong abdicated in favour of his adopted son Zhao Shen who became known to historians as Emperor Xiao Zong. Once on the throne, Xiao Zong put General Zhang Jun in com-mand to fight the war against the Jin. Besides, he restored all the hon-ours due to Yue Fei posthumously. Meanwhile, he actively prepared for a northern expedition. In the following year, Zhang Jun and his men marched northward and soon gained control of a number of places. Soon internal strife broke out among the Song generals, and the strife led to their defeat when the Jin troops counter-attacked. The defeat changed Emperor Xiao Zong’s mind about the war. To negoti- ate peace with the Jin, Tang Situi, a follower of Qin Hui, was appoint-ed prime minister. General Zhang Jun, firm in his anti-Jin stand, was dismissed from his post as vice-prime minister. Early in 1165, Em-peror Xiao Zong concluded a peace treaty with the Jin, under which Song ceded to the Jin large territories, besides promising to pay200,000 taels of silver every year. After the conclusion of the treaty, a thirty-year peace ensued.

In 1194, Zhao Kuo, later known as Emperor Ning Zong, ascend-ed the throne. Preparations were made for another expedition against the Jin. In 1206, war was formally declared, and the Song soon recovered several prefectures and counties. Later the capitulationists once again won political and military power. In 1208, the Song concluded another peace pact with the Jin, under which Emperor Ning Zong increased the annual tribute to 300,000 taels of silver, in addition to a lump sum payment of three million taels of silver as an award to the Jin troops. However, a powerful Mongol regime soon appeared in the rear of the Jin. Beginning in 1211, the Jin was subject to incessant attack by the Mongols, whom it could not resist. In 1234, the Mongols conquered Jin, thus bringing to a close the conflict between the Song and the Jin.

The confrontation between the Song and the Jin lasted a cen-tury’s time, causing enormous sufferings to the people. Peasant upris-ings broke out time and again in both states. Among the largest ones were those led by Zhong Xiang and Yang Yao in the Song and by the Red Jackets on the Shandong Peninsula under the control of the Jin.

Zhong Xiang was a native of Wuling in Dingzhou (modern Changde , Hunan ). Through religion, he forged ties with the masses in the course of more than 20 years. In the spring of 1130, he led peas-ants to stage an armed uprising against the Song government for its excessive taxation, He raised such slogans as: “Equality between the high and the low and equal distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor.” The rebels soon seized a vast amount of land around Lake Dongting and founded their owing to regime named Chu . Later, owin espionage by Song agents, Zhong Xiang, together with his son, was taken prisoner at his own headquarters and subsequently exected. Yang Yao succeeded him as commander to continue the fight. Nor-mally, Yang Yao and his men tilled the land on the lakeside but quickly they would get on boats as warriors whenever the Song troops were approaching. Time and again they defeated the Song troops, at one time their influence reached as far as Changsha , Yueyang, and other places. Finally the Song government sent Yue Fei to suppres the insurgents, and the rebellion came to an end in 1135.

The Red Jackets uprising started in 1211, when the state of Jin was already in decline, its social economy was deteriorating, and its people having a hard time. Contradictions. between various ethnic groups and classes sharpened. It was under these circumstances that Yang Aner and Li Quan staged a peasant uprising in Shandong . The rebels wore red jackets, so their army was called the Red Jackets Army. After seizing control of the major part of Shandong Peninsula , they began to build their own power. Later Yang Aner died of at ness while fighting from one place to another, and after the death of Yang Aner, some of his forces, now led by his daughter Yang Miao-zhen and his son-in-law Li Quan, began to move into the areas of Southern Song. One contingent, led by Peng Yibing, carried on their fight in Shandong and later moved into Hebei . Peng fought and de-feated not only the Jin troops but also the Mongol troops then marching southward. In 1225, the rebel force led by Peng was finally crushed by the Mongols.

The period in which the Song and the Jin existed as two rival states was marked by progress made in literature, history and philoso-phy. The written works gave expression to the acute struggle between ethnic groups and between classes.

In the area of literature, the Southern Song Dynasty was particu-larly noted for its production of ci. Both Lu You (1125-1210) and Xin Qiji (1140-1207) were famous ci poets and both had participated in the anti-Jin struggle. Their works, therefore, reflected their concern for their country and their lofty sentiments and emotions. Both had their ci works published in anthologies. Li Qingzhao (1084-c. 1155) was a poetess who had a special place in Chinese literature. General Yue Fei, known for his military exploits, wrote good ci. Lu You was also an accomplished writer of the shi form of poetry.

In its simple form, drama or zaju made its appearance during the Northern Song Dynasty. Humorous and satirical, it consisted of reci-tations and dialogues; later, it was accompanied by songs and dances. The zaju of the Jin was not much different from that of the Southern Song. During the Southern Song Dynasty a most popular kind of zaju was the ” Wenzhou drama” or “southern drama” developed in Wenz-hou and other coastal regions of Zhejiang Province . Through the me-dium of songs, recitations, and dances, it told complicated stories with a variety of characters. In the Jin as well as in the Song, there were also dramatic ballads known as zhugongdiao or gongdiao. By songs and recitations, they told long stories. In terms of vocal style, zhu-gongdiao absorbed the characteristics of major melodies, ci, and folk ballads of the Tang and Song dynasties. Both zaju and zhugongdiao had contributed to the development of the Yuan drama.

Hua ben or vernacular tales consisted of two kinds: the long ones and the short ones. The short ones, known as xiaoshuo, or short stories, dealt with such topics as lovers, ghosts and spirits, and heroic adven-tures. The long ones, known as jiang shi or historical episodes, related historical events that occurred in a certain period. They described wars and the rise and fall of dynasties and portrayed heroes and their mili-tary exploits. Revealing the seamy side of society, they were literature of realism. By the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, vernacular tales had made considerable progress. They advanced further during the Southern Song Dynasty and served as the forerunner of the novels of the Yuan and Ming dynasties.

Books of history written during the Southern Song Dynasty were of two kinds: dynastic history dealing with changes of the time and general history covering events over a long span of time. Li Tao (1115-84), following Sima Guang’s example, wrote A Sequel to Histo-ry as a Mirror (Xu zizhi tongjian changpian) modelled after the lat-ter’s History as a Mirror. The original work had 1,036juan, but today only 520 remain. Compiled by Li Xinchuan (1166-1244), A Chronicle of the Most Important Events Since the Jianyan Reign Period had 200 juan. It covered events over the 36 years of Emperor Gao Zong’s reign; it could be seen as a continuation of A Sequel. Xu Menghua (1126-1207) wrote a 230-juan work entitled A Chronicle of Three Song Emperors’ Dealings with the Northern Neighbour that recorded the Song’s relationship with the Jin during the reigns of Emperors Hui Zong, Qin Zong, and Gao Zong. Rich and reliable in source materials, the three works described above chronologically recorded the events of the time. Historical Collections was a great work in 200 juan com- piled by Zheng Qiao (1103-62). Centred on historical personalities, it gave a general account of the history of various dynasties prior to the late Sui Dynasty. In addition to a chronological record of historical events, it contained a historical study of various clans, cities, academic learning and bibliography. A book of history, according to him,”should locate the essence that underlies all the historical changes”; but his own book did not line up to that high standard. Based upon his own reading of History as a Mirror, Yuan Shu (1131-1205) wrote Events in History as a Mirror. It contained 239 fully accounted events in 42 juan. With Events, Yuan Shu not only introduced a new way of writing history but also demonstrated his own ability of bringing es-sential facts out of a confused mass of materials. Works like those described above not only reflected the political situation of the time but were also important contributions to the study of history.

In philosophy, Zhu Xi (1130-1200) inherited and developed the objective idealism pioneered by the Cheng Brothers, exerting the greatest ideological influence on Chinese feudal society after Confucius and Dong Zhongshu. He believed that “reason” in things existed before things themselves existed and all the changes in things were governed by it. As far as men were concerned, “rea-son” was nothing but man’s nature which was inherently good; all the feudal moral standards originated in it. Blinded by the desire for material gains, man could become bad and commit violations of the feudal moral standards. The purpose of these remarks, as far as Zhu Xi was concerned, was the justification of the feudal moral standards and the necessity for people to observe them. Zhu Xi wrote many books, the most important of which were Commentary on the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean, Collected Commentaries on “The Analects'” and “Mencius”, and Selected Writings of Master Zhu Xi. Many books on his words and deeds were also published. Classified Conversation of Master Zhu was one that has survived. Lu Jiuyuan (1139-92), an ideological oppo- nent of Zhu Xi, advocated subjective idealism. He said that “the universe lies in my mind” and that “all things are complete within me”. The difference between Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan was one be-tween two schools of idealism.

As different from both Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan, Chen Liang and Ye Shi were two materialists. Chen Liang (1143-94) took the view that things were objective existences from which no universal principles could be detached. He advocated the study of practical subjects as means to enrich the country and strengthen its armed strength. Firm in his anti-Jin stand, he was in favour of seeking revenge and against any compromises. Ye Shi (1150-123) maintained that man drew his knowledge from the objective world which determined the kind of knowledge he had, and that it was impossible to divorce knowledge from the objective world, not even for a moment. Benevolence and righteousness, according to him, should be based on utilitarianism, otherwise they would be meaningless. He took an active part in the armed struggle against the Jin regime.

The Rise of the Mongols and the Fall of the Xia, the Jin and the Southern Song

The Mongols were formerly a tribe roaming the upper reaches of the Argun River . Later they moved to live in the valleys of the Onon and Kerulen rivers. With the passage of time, they rose to become a powerful tribe. During the period from the late 12th to the early 13th century, Temujin consolidated all the Mongol tribes and placed under his leadership a centralized Khanate which brought the Mongols to a new stage of development. In 1206, he had a clan conference held on the bank of the Onon River , at which he was proclaimed the Great Khan, with the reign title of Genghis Khan. He was later known as Emperor Tai Zu of the Yuan Dynasty.

Genghis Khan organized his army and all the adults of his Mongol tribe according to a decimal system. He personally selected an e1ite force of 10,000 which served as a basic striking unit. He trars-formed customary laws into written laws so as to specify the special privileges of the nobility and to tighten the control over the herdsmen slaves. The enforcement of military discipline and the completion of written laws added to the strength of the Mongol Khanate based on slavery.

For a long period, Genghis Khan and his successors Ogdai Khan and Mangu Khan conquered and seized territories both in the south and in the western regions. In the south their attacks were directed against the Xia, the Jin, and the Song; in the western regions, their conquest extended as far as Central Europe .

Having conquered the Western Liao by 1218, the Mongols extended their influence over areas both north and south of the Tianshan Mountains and over Central Asia . In 1218, commanding 200,000 men, Genghis Khan personally led a western expedition. In five years t swept across much of Asia and Europe , with his vanguard going as fi as Eastern Europe and northern Iran . During the period from 1236 to 1241, Ogdai Khan, having brought Russia to its knees, sent his forces as far as modern Poland , Hungary and other regions. In the period from 1253 to 1259, Mangu Khan sent his brother, Hulagu, to wipe out the Assassin sect in Persia . Having accomplished the mission, Hulagu and his troops sacked Xiabaoda ( Bagdad ) and gained control of southwestern Asia . Wherever the Mongol cavalrymen went, great devastation ensued, and people suffered serious losses.

After the successful conclusion of their western campaign, the Mongols established four Great Khanates. The Kipchak Khanate was the fief of the family of Juji, the eldest son of Genghis Khan. At the zenith of its rule, its territory extended west to the lower reaches of the Danube , east to the Irtysh River , south to Caucasus , and north to Bul-gar near Kazan in Russia . The Jagatai Khanate, the former territory of the Western Liao, was now the fief of Jagatai, the second son of Gen-ghis Khan. The Ogdai Khanate was the fief of Ogdai, the third son of Genghis Khan, covering the upper reaches of the Irtysh River and the area east of the Balkhash Lake . The 11-Khanate was the fief of Hulagu, the son of Tule, the fourth son of Genghis Khan, covering the area south of the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea . At the beginning, the four Khanates were subject to unified Mongol rule; later, they became independent states. They came to an end during the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries.

During the period from 1205 to 1227, Genghis Khan attacked the Xia and the Jin many times. More than once he laid siege to the capi-tal city of the Xia and the Xia ruler was forced to sue for peace by presenting him with beautiful maidens. In the end the Xia ruler had to flee for his life. Having been repeatedly defeated, the Jin ruler did likewise by presenting the Mongols with beautiful maidens so as to sue for peace. Zhongdu, which had been a capital of the Jin for more than sixty years beginning with Prince Hai Ling’s reign, fell into Mongol hands in 1215. The Mongol invaders trampled over the vast territory north of the Huanghe River , burning, killing, and plundering wherever they went. In fighting a war of plunder, Genghis Khan was slow to recognize the mode of production and the way of governance under feudalism. To the ministers who had easy access to him, the Han Chinese were no more than a nuisance to be eliminated, and the Chinese farmland should be laid waste and converted into pastures. Yelii Chucai, on the other hand, maintained that the Han Chinese, instead of being a nuisance, could contribute greatly to the Mongol conquest of the south by providing military supplies and tax revenue. Yelti Chucai (1190-1244) was a learned scholar and politician of Qi-dan origin, active during the reigns of Genghis Khan and Ogdai Khan. He played an active role in influencing the Mongol ruling clique to adopt the Han Chinese culture. His writings are included in Collected Works of Hermit Zhanran

In 1226 Genghis Khan launched his last campaign against the Xia. In the following year, the Xia ruler surrendered, and the Xia ended as an independent state. Genghis Khan died of illness in the same year. It took him only twenty-one years to start as a tribal chieftain and become a world-shaking personality.

In 1229, soon after his accession to the throne as the Great Khan, Ogdai ordered an expedition against the Jin. In the following year he personally led attacks by his troops, with only mixed result. In 1233, as soon as the Mongols took Kaifeng , Emperor Ai Zong of the Jin fled to Caizhou (modern Runan County , Henan ). Following its previous agreement with the Mongols, the Southern Song sent its troops to join the Mongols in surrounding Caizhou. In 1234, Emperor Ai Zong committed suicide, and the Jin came to an end. Nevertheless, the Jin exerted a great influence on the early period of Yuan because of its cultural achievement. Yuan Haowen (1190-1257), a native of Xiuyong of Taiyuan (to the northwest of modern Xinxian County , Shanxi ), was an outstanding writer during the early period of the Yuan Dynasty. After vanquishing the Jin, the Mongols aimed at the Southern Song as their main target. In 1235, the Mongols marched southward along two routes. One contingent of the Mongol troops drove into Sichuan where it met with fierce resistance. In 1236, it occupied Chengdu . Another contingent marched towards Xiangyang, which it took in 1236, after inflicting heavy losses on the Song forces. The Song general Meng Gong made a vigorous stand. In 1238, the Song forces recovered both Chengdu and Xiangyang which the Mongols had occupied only for a brief period. But the Song Emperor Li Zong was bent on coming to terms with the Mongols by making compromise. In 1241, the peace talks stopped because of the death of the Mongol ruler, Ogdai Khan.

After his succession to the throne in 1251, Mangu Khan made repeated incursions into Song territory. In 1253 Kublai, brother of the empreor, and General Uriyangqadai, driving into Yunnan , seized Dali. After inducing Tufan to surrender, they took control of China ‘s southwest region, and succeeded in forming a ring of encirclement around the Southem Song forces in the southwest. In 1258, Mangu attacked Song on three routes. Kublai was to take Ezhou (modem Wuchang City , Hubei ) and Uriyangqadai to attack Tanzhou (modem Changsha City , Hunan ).

Mangu Khan himself was to lead a force to attack Sichuan . The Khan, however, met with stiff resistance at Hezhou (modem Hechuan County , Sichuan ), which he could not take after six months of heavy fighting. In 1259, during the campaign to take Diaoyucheng, to the east of Hezhou, he was mortally wounded near the city wall. His death changed the war situation.

On hearing about Mangu’s death while on his way to Ezhou, Kublai joined his forces with those of Uriyangqadai in a northward withdrawal. In 1260, he succeeded as Great Khan and designated Kaiping (modem Duolun County , Inner Mongolia ) as Shangdu (Upper Capital) and Yanjing (modem Beijing ) as Zhongdu (Middle Capital). In 1271, he called his regime Yuan. After a period of social develop-ment beginning with Genghis Khan who unified all the Mongol tribes, the Mongols had by now left slave society and entered feudal society. Kublai was later referred to as Emperor Shi Zu.

Early during his reign, Kublai found himself embroiled in the in-ner struggles of the nobility. In the meantime, in the Southern Song, Emperor Li Zong and his prime minister, Jia Sidao, dissolute as they were, led a life of corruption. They killed anti-Mongol generals and ruthlessly exploited the people. It was due to the hard struggle on the part of the masses of people and the military forces that Southern Song managed to secure a precarious existence in face of the constant threat of war. In the end, however, it had to collapse.

In 1267, the Mongol troops marched southward on a grand scale. Following the advice of those Southern Song generals who had sur-rendered, Kublai Khan concentrated his attack on Xiangyang and Fancheng, the two strategic points on the upper reaches of the Hanshui River . Six years later, the two cities fell, though Southern Song put up a strong resistance

In 1226 Genghis Khan launched his last campaign against the Xia. In the following year, the Xia ruler surrendered, and the Xia ended as an independent state. Genghis Khan died of illness in the same year. It took him only twenty-one years to start as a tribal chieftain and become a world-shaking personality.

In 1229, soon after his accession to the throne as the Great Khan, Ogdai ordered an expedition against the Jin. In the following year he personally led attacks by his troops, with only mixed result. In 1233, as soon as the Mongols took Kaifeng , Emperor Ai Zong of the Jin fled to Caizhou (modern Runan County , Henan ). Following its previous agreement with the Mongols, the Southern Song sent its troops to join the Mongols in surrounding Caizhou. In 1234, Emperor Ai Zong committed suicide, and the Jin came to an end. Nevertheless, the Jin exerted a great influence on the early period of Yuan because of its cultural achievement. Yuan Haowen (1190-1257), a native of Xiuyong of Taiyuan (to the northwest of modern Xinxian County , Shanxi ), was an outstanding writer during the early period of the Yuan Dynasty. After vanquishing the Jin, the Mongols aimed at the Southern Song as their main target. In 1235, the Mongols marched southward along two routes. One contingent of the Mongol troops drove into Sichuan where it met with fierce resistance. In 1236, it occupied Chengdu . Another contingent marched towards Xiangyang, which it took in 1236, after inflicting heavy losses on the Song forces. The Song general Meng Gong made a vigorous stand. In 1238, the Song forces recovered both Chengdu and Xiangyang which the Mongols had occupied only for a brief period. But the Song Emperor Li Zong was bent on coming to terms with the Mongols by making compromise. In 1241, the peace talks stopped because of the death of the Mongol ruler, Ogdai Khan.

After his succession to the throne in 1251, Mangu Khan made repeated incursions into Song territory. In 1253 Kublai, brother of the empreor, and General Uriyangqadai, driving into Yunnan , seized Dali. After inducing Tufan to surrender, they took control of China ‘s southwest region, and succeeded in forming a ring of encirclement around the Southem Song forces in the southwest. In 1258, Mangu attacked Song on three routes. Kublai was to take Ezhou (modem Wuchang City , Hubei ) and Uriyangqadai to attack Tanzhou (modem Changsha City , Hunan ).

Mangu Khan himself was to lead a force to attack Sichuan . The Khan, however, met with stiff resistance at Hezhou (modem Hechuan County , Sichuan ), which he could not take after six months of heavy fighting. In 1259, during the campaign to take Diaoyucheng, to the east of Hezhou, he was mortally wounded near the city wall. His death changed the war situation.

On hearing about Mangu’s death while on his way to Ezhou, Kublai joined his forces with those of Uriyangqadai in a northward withdrawal. In 1260, he succeeded as Great Khan and designated Kaiping (modem Duolun County , Inner Mongolia ) as Shangdu (Upper Capital) and Yanjing (modem Beijing ) as Zhongdu (Middle Capital). In 1271, he called his regime Yuan. After a period of social develop-ment beginning with Genghis Khan who unified all the Mongol tribes, the Mongols had by now left slave society and entered feudal society. Kublai was later referred to as Emperor Shi Zu.

Early during his reign, Kublai found himself embroiled in the in-ner struggles of the nobility. In the meantime, in the Southern Song, Emperor Li Zong and his prime minister, Jia Sidao, dissolute as they were, led a life of corruption. They killed anti-Mongol generals and ruthlessly exploited the people. It was due to the hard struggle on the part of the masses of people and the military forces that Southern Song managed to secure a precarious existence in face of the constant threat of war. In the end, however, it had to collapse.

In 1267, the Mongol troops marched southward on a grand scale. Following the advice of those Southern Song generals who had sur-rendered, Kublai Khan concentrated his attack on Xiangyang and Fancheng, the two strategic points on the upper reaches of the Hanshui River . Six years later, the two cities fell, though Southern Song put up a strong resistance.

In 1274, a Mongol force of 200,000, led by Left Prime Minister Bayan, drove into Song territory over both land and river. In 1275, the main force of the Song disintegrated in the battle of Wuhu . Song gen-erals and officials, led by Jia Sidao, either surrendered or fled for their lives. In 1276, Bayan and his men marched into Hangzhou , captured Emperor Gong Di, Empress Dowager Quan: and Empress Dowager Xie, and carried them off to the north. Thus the Song Dynasty came to an end about forty years after Ogdai Khan launched his first campaign against it in 1235.

Though the Southern Song was exterminated by the Mongols, ef-forts were made by such men as Wen Tianxiang (1236-82), Lu Xiufu and Zhang Shijie to revive it despite the difficulties involved. Having been taken captive, Wen Tianxiang refused to surrender and died a martyr. Lu and Zhang also laid down their lives for their cause.

Founding of the Yuan Dynasty and Peasant Uprisings During the Late Yuan

After the Southern Song was exterminated in 1276, Kublai Khan made further efforts to eliminate the remnant Song forces so as to bring the country under the centralized rule of the Yuan regime. The country was governed from above via three separate organs: the Secretariat, the Military Council, and the Censorate. Though inherited from the Song, these organs had different functions under the Yuan. The Secretariat was in charge of political matters as well as “all key military problems” and also handled the country’s finance. Placed under the Secretariat were the executive secretariats in various administrative regions. These were, generally speaking, headed by high officials from the central government. Institutionalized as a key organ in the government, the Secretariat under the Yuan exercised much greater power than its Song counterpart. Executive secretariats were established even in such remote areas of the country as Yunnan . In Tufan, the administrative organ was known as the Council of Buddhist Affairs. The Military Council was invested with the power to direct military activities; an executive military council would be created under its jurisdiction during a military campaign. All armed forces, excluding the Imperial Guard of the emperor, were put under the joint control of the Military Council and a central executive secretariat, or under the separate control of either. Thus the Military Council of the Yuan also enjoyed greater power than that of the Song. Executive censorates were established on local levels under the Censorate, which also directed the “clean government inspection offices”. The purpose was to strengthen the supervision of local administration. From the viewpoint of strengthening feudal autonomy, the Yuan followed the philosophy of the Song in terms of administrative organizations. There was a difference in emphasis, however. The purpose of the Song system was to strengthen the power of the emperor and prevent any threat to that power from high ministers in the central government or from the local authorities. The Yuan system, on the other hand, was designed not only to strengthen the power of the emperor but also to provide local administration with enough authority to function effectively. Han Chinese like Liu Bingzhong and Xu Heng had contributed greatly to this concept.

Kublai Khan was the first Mongol ruler who attached great importance to agricultural development. Before conquering the Song, he established an agricultural promotion department headed by Yao Shu and sent people to various places to develop agriculture. He formulated a policy of “pacifying the people” and “promoting agriculture”; he distributed a pamphlet entitled The Fundamentals of Agriculture and Sericulture to popularize farming methods. After conquering the Song, he reintroduced China ‘s traditional system of having the armed forces do farming and land reclamation in peace time, and organized the construction of water conservancy projects on a grand scale. Though social contradictions were still acute at the time, agricultural production was somehow restored. As a result, grain transported from the south to the north kept increasing and, in a peak year, amounted to more than 350,000,000 piculs (17,500,000 tons). As the ruler of a nomadic people, Kublai Khan distinguished himself from all previous Mongolian monarchs by his recognition of the economic and political importance of agriculture and the measures he adopted to promote its growth.

The Yuan regime paid great attention to the development of communication and transportation, including the construction of post roads and post stations. By the time of Kublai Khan a network of post roads and post stations had extended as far northeast as the Heilong-jiang River and Nurkan (modern Tirin in Russia), to Yunnan in the southwest, to Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, and Guangxi in the south, and Mongolia in the north. Among the means of transportation on the post roads were horses, cattles, donkeys, carts, sedan chairs and ferry boats. Those allowed to travel on the post roads were provided with”board and lodging”, including “tents where they can stop overnight and water to quench their thirst”. In water transportation, Kublai saw to it that the Grand Canal, then unfinished, be finally completed from Hangzhou to Dadu by a shift of its course from Henan to Shandong. Coastal transportation was also opened from the southeast to Dadu. It was said then that a tail wind could bring a ship from East Zhejiang to Dadu in ten days. All these achievements in transportation were possible only when the country was unified; and they helped the country’s unification.

The Yuan regime adopted a policy of toleration towards all religions. Lamaism, Taoism, Christianity and Islam existed side by side. Only the White Lotus Society and the Maitreya sect were banned due to their anti-Yuan stand. Among the religions, Lamaist Buddhism received the greatest favour from the government. Kublai Khan bestowed the title “Teacher of the Nation” on the Tibetan lama Phatspa, who was instructed to create a Mongolian written script based on the Tibetan script. Known as the Phatspa Mongolian script, it replaced the one then in use, the Uygur Mongolian script. The religious activities of Lamaism were founded by the government. Taoism had many sects. By the time of Genghis Khan there was a Taoist “immortal” named Qiu Chuji who was ordered to “take good care of all the devotees who have left home for a monastic life”. By the time of Kublai, the influ-ence of Taoism had somewhat declined. Both Christianity and Is-lamism came to China during the Tang Dynasty. As late as the Yuan Dynasty, Nestorianism remained the only Christian sect in China , and its followers could be found in such places as Dadu, Hangzhou , and Quanzhou. Most of the Semu people believed in Islam, a devotee of which was Ananda, the grandson of Kublai. Amogn the 150,000 men under the grandson’s command, more than one half embraced Islam. Besides the many religious faiths, the Neo-Confucianism of the Cheng-Zhu School remained popular.

During the dynasty, progress was made in science and tehcnology as well as in the humanities. Increased contacts between various eth-nic groups within the country and cultural exchanges with the outside world enabled members of ethnic minorities and foreign residents in China , and also their offspring, to contribute their part in the enrich-ment of China ‘s culture.

Guo Shoujing (1231-1316) was a great astronomer and an out-standing expert in water conservancy. He made improvements on as-tronomical equipment, built his own observatories and observed and measured heavenly bodies with great precision. He also made a land survey on an unprecedented scale. He constructed twenty-seven ob- servatories across the country to measure latitudes. There was an ob-servatory for the distance of every ten degrees latitude from the Xisha Archipelago to the Arctic Circle to determine the exact occurrence of summer solstice. He revised the Time-Telling Calendar in which he determined that 365.2425 days constituted a year and 29.530593 days amounted to a month. Both figures happened to be the most accurate in the contemporary world. Adopted in 1281, the calendar was in use for a long period of about 360 years. In water conservancy, Guo Shoujing directed the reconstruction of not only the Hanyan and Tanglai irrigation canals (in modem Ningxia) but also opened up new water resources for Dadu.

Ma Duanlin (from 1254 to early 14th century) examined what he called “the causes of historical changes”. He collected a large amount of historical materials, classified them into twenty-four categories, and made his own conclusions on the events he studied. The result was A Comprehensive Study of Civilization in 348 juan. A great work on social institutions, it was richer in content than A Comprehensive Study of History by Du You of the Tang Dynasty. In addition, he also wrote Comprehensive Studies in 153 juan. Unfortunately, the book has been lost.

In literature, the Yuan Dynasty was best known for its achievements in qu or dramatic ballads. Then qu had two kinds, san qu and za ju. The former derived its origin from the tunes of people living in the former Jin territories: it was combined with the shi or ci form of poetry and set to the melodies of the ethnic minorities in North China . The latter, combining singing with dancing and acting, was entirely new. At ,the beginning, za ju was only popular in North China ; later it spread to the south.

The two greatest dramatists of the Yuan Dynasty were Guan Hanqing and Wang Shifu.

Guan Hanqing (c. 1213-1297) wrote more than 60 pieces of drama, the most outstanding being Snow in Midsummer. It described a young widow who resisted the approach of a villain and put up a val’ iant fight against the brutality of the bureaucrats. It showed the cruel realities of the dark feudal rule. Wang Shifu, a contemporary of Guan, wrote The Western Chamber, which was his masterpiece. Though its main theme was love and separation, joy and sorrow, involving a scholar named Zhang Junrui and a girl named Cui Yingying, it expressed the universal hope that “those who love each other shall in the end be united in marriage”. Many za ju writers, including Guan Hanqin, were also good at san qu. The Uygur poet Guan Yunshi and the Hui poet Saidula were both eminent writers of san qu. Late during the Yuan Dynasty, the nan xi or “southern drama” that had been most popular during the Southern Song Dynasty made further progress. Enriched by za ju, nan xi perfected itself and became a better form of art than za ju. The Moon Worship Pavilion by Shi Hui and Tale of the Lute by Gao Ming were the best known among the nan xi. They paved the way for the rise of chuanqi (operas set to southern music) during the Ming Dynasty.

The unification of China under the Yuan Dynasty ended a state of divided rule that began with the Five Dynasties. Economic and cultural successes were achieved in the unified empire. But the Yuan court maintained its rule amid acute contradictions including those between different classes, within the ruling classes and among the various ethnic groups.

Under the Yuan, the people of the country were divided into four categories. The Mongols belonged to the first or privileged class. Next were the Semu’s, who came from both sides of the Tianshan Mountains , and areas to the west of the Congling Range.* Then came the Hans, which referred to the Hans and the Ntizhens who lived in the Huanghe River valley. At the bottoms of the social scale were the “southerners”, mostly Hans, who inhabited the Changjiang River valley and areas to the south and who had surrendered to the Mongols only after the fall of the Southern Song regime. The Yuan also had its armed forces classified with Mongol troops, vanguard detachemtns, Han troops, and new joiners. Strictly speaking, the Yuan regime was not purely Mongol, though it was dominated by the Mongols. With the Mongol nobles at its core, the regime was supported by the Han Chinese landlords and the upper classes of many other ethnic groups. Without such a support, the Mongol nobles would not be able to rule such a large country. The policy of national discrimination, which created discord among different ethnic groups, was merely a means to solidify Mongol rule as it prevented them from forming a unified front against the Mongols. This explains why class struggle appeared as national struggle during the Yuan Dynasty. As far as the Mongol labouring masses were concerned, they remained slaves to Mongol rulers, and some of them even became slaves to the Semu’s and the Han Chinese.

The eighteen years after Kublai conquered the Song were the most glorious years of the Yuan Dynasty. However, in 1278, only two years after Kublai’s conquest of the Southern Song, a native of Jian-ning (modern Jian’ou County, Fujian) named Huang Hua, in alliance with a woman leader of the She ethnic group named Madame Xu, staged an armed uprising for the overthrow of the Yuan regime. They gathered a force of several hundred thousand in a struggle that persisted for six years, taking many towns in the progress. In 1283, as many as 200 armed uprisings were reported from local officials throughout the country. In 1289, one official report said that there were more than 400 armed uprisings in the lower Changjiang River valley alone. After the death of Kublai, his grandson Emperor Cheng Zong inherited the throne. During the thirteen years of his reign (1295-1307), Kublai’s accomplishments were more or less preserved. The death of Cheng Zong, however, was followed by a period of internal struggle for the throne that lasted twenty-five years, which saw the reigns of nine emperors. Peasant uprisings were then at a low ebb, but the Yuan regime had already reached the stage of decline.

By the time of Emperor Shun Di’s reign (1333-68), the Yuan Dynasty had entered its last days, having become corrupt politically, economically, and militarily. Peasant uprisings occurred in many places. In 1343, the Huanghe River was breached. In 1344, following a torrential rain of more than twenty days, vast tracts of land along the fiver were submerged to the depth of seven metres. In 1351, to dredge the river, a labour force of 150,000 men, supervised by 20,000 soldiers, was mobilized. The mobilization increased the burden on the people in the flooded areas. Then there was the saying that “on the bed of the Huanghe River is a oneeyed stone man who calls for revolt”. Sure enough, a oneeyed stone man was found on the riverbed, and the rebels took up arms in earnest.

The Red Scarves constituted the main force of the peasant uprising, and Han Shantong and Liu Futong were their earliest organizers and leaders. At the beginning, they carried out their activities under the cover of a religious sect called the White Lotus Society. In the course of preparing for the revolt, Han Shantong was arrested and subsequently executed. In 1351, Liu Futong began his uprising at Yingzhou (modern Fuyang County , Anhui ). To distinguish themselves from others, the rebels tied red scarves around their heads, and from such a habit came the name of the Red Scarves army. The army, soon swelling to more than one hundred thousand men, captured a number of towns in today’s Henan Province . Many places in the Huai River valley and on both sides of the Changjiang River responded.

In 1355, Liu Futong captured Bozhou (modern Boxian County , Anhui ) and installed Han Linger as King Xiaoming. The new regime was called the Song. In the same year, Emperor Shun Di called upon rich people to organize forces for resistance. Those who could recruit five thousand men would receive the title of wan hu; those who could gather one thousand or one hundred would be titled qian hu and bai hu respectively.* There were then landlord forces organized by Changuntemur, a Mongol from Shenqiu, modern Henan province, and Li Siqi, a Han Chinese from Luoshan, also in Henan. Both became inveterate enemies of Red Scarves.

In 1357 Liu Futong and his men marched northward on three separate routes. The east route army was to cross the sea from northern Jiangsu to take Shandong , from where it would enter Hebei to attack Dadu. The middle route was ordered to cross the Huanghe River to attack Shanxi , take Datong , storm the Upper Capital at Kaiping and capture Liaoyang . The west route army was supposed to enter Shaanxi and seize control of Sichuan , Gansu and Ningxia. In 1358, Liu Futong and his men captured Kaifeng whereto the Song regime moved its capital. This was the time when the Red Scarves reached the zenith of their power after they had basically destroyed the main forces of the Yuan Dynasty in the north. But the Red Scarves only fought a mobile warfare. They did not pay much attention to the reconstruction of the conquered areas or collaboration among different fighting units. They quarrelled among themselves after victory. Moreover, they were not alert enough to the newly-formed armed forces of the landlords. Their shortcomings provided their enemy with the opportunity to defeat them. By 1362, all the three route armies had encountered defeat. Once finding himself being surrounded by Chaguntemur at Kaifeng , Liu Futong and his men withdrew to Anfeng (modern Shouxian County , Anhui ). He died in action in 1363. King Xiaoming received protection from Zhu Yuanzhang, later the founder of the Ming Dynasty, who took him to Chuzhou (modern Chuxian County , Anhui ).

While the Red Scarves were winning one victory after another in the north, peasant insurgents in the south were doing their part to overthrow the Yuan Dynasty. Among the peasant leaders was Xu Shouhui who, having won the support of Peng Yingyu, leader of the Maitreya Sect, staged an armed uprising in 1351 at Qizhou (modern Qichun County , Hubei ) and captured many places in Hubei , Hunan , Jiangxi , Zhejiang and Sichuan . In 1360, Xu Shouhui was murdered by his subordinate Chen Youliang, and this group of peasant army soon disintegrated. There was also a peasant force led by Zhang Shicheng, that rose in revolt at Taizhou (in modern Jiangsu ) in 1353. It captured Gaoyou and, later, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and many other places south of the Changjiang River before it, in 1357, surrendered to the Yuan regime. Both Xu Shouhui and Zhu Yuanzhang were at one time part of the Red Scarves, but Zhang Shicheng was not.

In 1352 Guo Zixing and his men revolted at Haozhou (modern Fengyang County , Anhui ) in response to the revolt led by Liu Futong. Zhu Yuanzhang threw in his lot with Guo Zixing and won his confidence. In 1355, after Guo Zixing died, Zhu inherited the command. In1356, he captured Jiqing (modern Nanjiang) and used it as a base of operation and expansion. Acting on the advice of Li Shanchang and Liu Ji, statesman and strategist of the landlord class, he planned not only to seize the power of the Yuan Dynasty but also to unify the country. He attacked first in the south when the Yuan regime was preoccupied in the north. In 1363, he decisively defeated Chen Youliang who was killed by a flying arrow. In 1367, after annihilating Zhang Shicheng, he led his troops northward against the Yuan regime which was then embroiled in internal struggle. In 1368, he entered Shandong , took control of Henan and Hebei provinces, and went straight to Dadu. Emperor Shun Di of the Yuan Dynasty fled northward, and the Yuan regime came to an end.

The Red Scarves raised such slogans as “Take money from the rich and give it to the poor” and “Eliminate all wrongs”, slogans that were similar in content to “Equalization of wealth” that had been popular with insurgent groups beginning with the Northern Song Dynasty. Only this time, in the struggle against the Yuan, there was a nationalistic element. Though Zhu Yuanzhang ended the Yuan regime, he, after his victory, backslid to the system of feudal rule, changing completely the character of the peasant uprising.

Further Growth of Social Productivity; Southward Shift of Economic Development

Destructive wars had dislocated social production or retarded its development beginning with the Five Dynasties, Song and Yuan; malpractices innate in the backward rule of the Liao, Jin, and Yuan made things worse. When the period is viewed as a whole, however, social productive forces still made headway, though in a halting manner. This was particularly true in the south. With less destruction from wars and more time for development, the south quickly became the economic centre of the whole country in agriculture, handicraft industry and commerce.

By the time of the Five Dynasties, the Song, and the Yuan, rice, planted mostly in the south, had become the chief food crop of the country. During the Southern Song Dynasty, the number of rice strains planted in the lower Changjiang River valley was as many as two hundred. Wheat was also a major food crop. It was planted in the lower Changjiang River valley too.

Sericulture was a main sideline for those engaged in agricultural production. Cotton was planted in the south as well as in the north. By the later part of the Southern Song Dynasty, cotton acreage had increased enormously. Cotton was first grown in Fujian and then in Guangdong ; its planting eventually reached the valleys of the Changjiang and the Huai rivers. In The Fundamentals of Agriculture and Sericulture issued by the Yuan government in 1273, there was detailed information on the technique of growing cotton, indicating that cotton planting had attracted welldeserved attention.

Attention was paid to the planting of crops in accordance with not only seasons but also local conditions. Proper arrangements were made in field building, sowing, seed-breeding, field management, fertilizing and harvesting as well as intercropping. Meticulous care was generally practised. As land was used in a planned way, different fields were designated for different purposes. Yutian (fields protected by dykes) were created out of lakes; to regulate waterflow, sluice gates were installed. In addition, ditches were dug to facilitate irrigation. Generally speaking, yutian fields were good lands that yielded bumper harvests irrespective of drought and flood. There were terraced fields built on hillsides. Land on seashore and riverside was also transformed into cropfields. All this could be seen in South China .

During the period under discussion, attention was paid to the construction of water conservancy projects for the purpose of developing agriculture. More than ten thousand of such projects were built in the latter part of the Northern Song Dynasty. A typical example was the Mulan Dyke in Xinghua and Pufien of Fujian Province, a multipurpose project for water diversion, storage, irrigation, and drainage. By the time of the Southern Song, water conservancy projects were completed on an even greater scale. Works around Lake Taihu wer built in such a way that all land, whether highly situated or lowlying, could be irrigated, and good harvests were thus guaranteed. As the saying went, “As soon as the crops in Suzhou and Huzhou ripen, there is enough food for everyone in China .” Guo Shoujing of the Yuan Dynasty repaired and rebuilt many irrigation canals, and his efforts played a constructive role in agricultural production in Northwest China .

In 1149, Chen Fu wrote Agriculture, a book that described paddy field work in a systematic way. It advanced the idea that “land fertility could be permanently maintained for the production of good crops¡±. Between 1295 and 1300, Wang Zhen wrote another book, also entitled On Agriculture. The book covered not only agriculture but also fol-estry, animal husbandry, and spinning and weaving. “Agricultural Implements Illustrated” accounted for a large portion of book. A great deal of attention was also given to the building of water conservancy projects. Both books have played a very important role in the history of Chinese agriculture.

During the Song and the Yuan dynasties, the obvious progress in the handicraft industry could be found in mining, metallurgy, ship-building, spinning and weaving, manufacturing of pottery and porce lain and paper making. The amount of gold, silver, copper and iron then produced had far surpassed any produced during the previous historical periods. People then could build an oceangoing ship of thirty metres long, that could accommodate 600 to 1,000 passengers and carry a freight weight of 2,000 piculs (100 tons).

Porcelains produced during the Song and the Yuan were art treasures. Among the famous kilns were those in Kaifeng, Yuzhou (modern Yuxian County, Henan), Ruzhou (modern Linru County, He-nan), Dingzhou (modern Dingxian, Hebei), Yuezhou (modern Shaox-ing County, Zhejiang), Geyao (modern Longquan County, Zhejiang), and Jingdezhen, Jiangxi. Different kilns produced porcelains of differ-ent forms and styles. Those produced in the northern states of Liao and Jin and in the southwestern state of Dali had their own character-istics.

The textile industry then consisted primarily of silk and ramie weaving. A gradual improvement was then made in the technique of cotton spinning and weaving; as a result, cotton cloth was produced in great quantities. In the time of Kublai Khan, offices of cotton admin-istration were established in several provinces in South China , and they requisitioned for the government 100,000 bolts of cotton cloth per year. Early during Emperor Cheng Zong’s reign, people in the lower Changjiang River valley were required to pay their summer taxes in cotton. This indicates that the cotton textile industry had made great progress by then. During the late Song and early Yuan period, a woman named Huang Daopo improved the tools as well as the tech-nique of cotton spinning and weaving, and her contribution sped up the progress.

Progress was also made in paper making. Among the raw materi-als were bamboo, rattan, flax, and rice and wheat stalks. Special and high-quality paper was produced in modern Jiangsu , Sichuan , Anhui and Fujian . A thin and evenly smooth paper of about five metres long was then made in Shexian County in modern Anhui .

Commerce was flourishing throughout the Song and the Yuan dynasties. Kaifeng, Chengdu, Xingyuan (modern Hanzhong City, Shaanxi) of the Northern Song, Hangzhou, Jiankang, Yangzhou, Suzhou, Chengdu, Taiyuan, Jingzhao (modern Xi’an City, Shaanxi) and Dadu of the Southern Song and the Yuan–they were all important commercial centres. During the Northern Song Dynasty Kaifeng had more than 200,000 households. Commercial activities were carried out not only during daytime but also in some places during the night. In the Southern Song Dynasty, Hangzhou was a city of 390,000 house- holds, or a population of 1.2 million. Trade flourished, and markets swarmed with people. More than twenty licensed paw-shops, charging high interest, were found in the city. During the Yuan Dynasty the Italian traveller Marco Polo called Dadu a most flourishing city. It was said that the silk transported into the city each day filled one thousand carts. During the Song Dynasty, trade between China’s hinterland and the Liao, Jin, and West Xia was also very prosperous. As a means to facilitate exchange, the earliest paper currency made its appearance.

During the SongYuan periods important achievements were made in technology. Some of these achievements were closely related to social production.

During the Warring States Period, the magnetic property of lodestone was discovered. Its other property, that of pointing to the north, was also noted. The magnetic stone was then ground into an instru-ment that gave guidance to direction. As to the time when the compass was first employed in navigation, no one seems to be sure. However, towards the end of the Northern Song or early in the twelfth century, a person named Zhu Yu, who had lived for a long time in Guangzhou , reported that captains of ships “use stars at night, the sun during the day, and compasses during rainy days for guidance in directions”. This is the earliest evidence of using compasses in navigation. Compasses used were then known as “floating needles” that were kept aloft inside bowls of water by floating wicks.

Block printing made its first appearance during the intervening years between the Sui and the Tang dynasties. At the time of the Five Dynasties it was first used in the printing of Confucian classics. During 931-953, the official version of the Nine Classics of Confucianism was printed in 130 juan. In the period 971-983, early in the Northern Song Dynasty, the official text of The Tripitaka in Chinese was printed in 5,048 juan. The technique of block printing reached its stage of maturity and flourished during the Song Dynasty. Hangzhou was then most famous for its printing plates, though Fujian and Sichuan were not too far behind. Books were exquisitely printed in large numbers. Books of Song printing are still highly valued today.

During the Northern Song period, Bi Sheng invented the movable type. Moistened clay was used as material to carve out the characters, which were hardened by fire. For each character there were several heads of type, and the number was larger for the commonly used ones. For the purpose of printing, heads of type were arranged on a plate according to the content of the book. After the printing was completed, the plate could be dismantled, and heads of type reused. Basically, the same practice is followed even today. During the Song-Yuan period, there were also tin movable type and wood movable type. Wang Zhen invented a revolving device whereby a printer could pick up the heads of type he needed without having to leave his seat.

The Chinese knew the use of gunpowder for weaponry as early as the Five Dynasties period. During the Northern Song period, a man named Zeng Gongliang wrote a book entitled The Outline of Military Science in which he described three kinds of explosives and many kinds of gunpowder weapons. Gunpowder could be used for its explo- sive power, for its smoke, and for its poisoning capacity. Towards the end of the Northern Song, an explosive device known as pi li pao (thunderbolt cannon) was used to defend Kaifeng and to beat back the Jin invaders. After the fall of the Northern Song regime, the Jins adopted the Song technique and invented zhen tian lei (sky-shaking thunder) a gun that could inflict heavy casualties on the enemy. It was so powerful that its explosion could be heard at a great distance. Later, gunpowder was used by the Mongol troops during their western expedition. Towards the end of the Yuan Dynasty, even peasant insur-gents used copper tubes filled up with gunpowder.

Other than Guo Shoujing, well known for his accomplishments in astronomy and calendar making, astronomer Su Song, who lived dur-ing the Northern Song period, wrote a book entitled New Design for an Armillary Sphere, in which he recorded a water-powered armillary sphere that marked the movement of the heavenly bodies. This was the earliest astronomical clock on record.

In mathematics, Liu Yi of the Northern Song Dynasty found the method of solving quadratic equation; Jia Xian then worked out the method of extracting equational roots by successive additions and multiplications. By this method not only square and cubic roots, but also roots in equations of a higher degree, could be extracted. Qin Jiushao of the Southern Song Dynasty, Li Ye, who lived during the intervening years between the Jin and the Yuan dynasties, and Zhu Shijie of the Yuan Dynasty all three made improvements on the method of extracting equational roots. During the Song-Yuan period, mathematicians made outstanding contributions involving linear con- gruences and multivariate higher simultaneous equations.

In architecture, many buildings dating back to the time of the Liao, Song, Jin, and Yuan can still be found today. Li Jie, a great ar-chitect of the Northern Song period, wrote a book entitled Building Formulas. This was a comprehensive work on architecture in 34 juan, supplemented with a number of drawings. The book described every architectural requirement, as well as technical problems, that had to be dealt with in construction.

The revised edition of Pharmacopoeia of the Kaibao* Period, that came out early during the Northern Song period, listed 132 more herbs than its Tang predecessor. Towards the end of this period, a book entitled Classification of Viable Herbs by Tang Shenwei had in it the description of 1,558 individual herbs. In later years, it exerted an enormous influence on Chinese pharmacology. During the Northern Song period, an imperial physician named Wang Weiyi designed a body model made of copper over which acupuncture points were indi-cated. He also wrote An Illustration of the Copper Man’s Acupuncture Points to show the correct locations of these points. Early during the Southern Song period, Song Ci compiled The Cleansing of Wrongs, a book of great scientific value in medical jurisprudence. During the Jin-Yuan period, there were such famous physicians as Liu Wansu, Zhang Zihe, Li Gao and Zhu Zhenheng. Jointly known as the “four authorities”, they exerted a considerable amount of influence on the development of Chinese medicine.

Further Devlopment of Feudal Relations;Feudalization of the Border Rgeions

By the Five Dynasties period, a relative change had taken place in the inner relations of feudalism. The great uprising led by Huang Chao towards the end of the Tang Dynasty had thoroughly eliminated the privileged landlord class. The rising class of bureaucrat landlords became the most important stratum within the landlord class in the Song period.

A nine rank system was then practised in the officialdom, and the households of officials who happened to be landlords were known as “official households”. On the basis of their ranks, officials were granted land; the amount to be granted varied from 5 to 50 qing (roughly the equivalent of 83-830 acres). The granted land was exempted from taxation and all other exactions, including corv6e. Actually, the land lords seized as much land as they could while performing no obligations to the state at all. By the time of Emperor Ying Zong of the Song, the amount of land seized by the bureaucrat landlords accounted for 70 per cent of the country’s land. Land concentration reached its highest point towards the end of the Southern Song period when some of the biggest landlords each owned land that covered an area of a few hundred kilometres. The bureaucrat landlords of the Song Dynasty, like their predecessors, the landlords of privileged families, enjoyed certain political status. But there was a difference. The political status of the privileged landlords was inherited, while that of the bureaucrat landlords was determined by their official ranks. When a bureaucrat landlord died, the political status privileges it enjoyed would come to of his family and the special an end if his descendants held no official posts.

During the Song period, many holding positions of authority in the government but having no official ranks made good use of their power by seizing more and more land. Enjoying great influence in local communities, their households were called “influential house- holds”. They belonged to the class of despotic landlords.

In the household register during the Song Dynasty, a household could be listed as either “host” or “guest”. The former was one who owned land and had to pay taxes while the latter, owning no land, tilled land “owned by others. The names of bureaucrat landlords and other despotic landlords did not appear on the household register at all.

“Host” households were divided into five categories according to the amount of land they owned. The first three categories were lanldord households. The households of the first category belonged to the biggest landlords; they were also known as “upper households” The fourth and fifth categories were “lower households”, referring to independent or semi-independent small holders. The “guest” hcuseholds belonged to the tenants.

According to the law, “host” households had to pay land taxes which were collected twice a year, in summer and in autumn. In addition, they had to pay a poll tax and perform a variety of duties such as corv6e. But landlords, big or small, often worked hand in glove with government officials to evade taxes and other exactions, shifting most of the burden to independent or semiindependent small holders. This often bankrupted the latter and turned them into tenant farmers or refugees.

Under the system of land tenancy, there was a marked diffence between tax and rent. While “host” households paid land taxes the government, “guest” households paid rent to the landlords, also paying poll taxes to the government and performing labour services for it. The relationship between landlords and their tenants was contractual, but this did not mean that the tenants were entirely free from feudal bondage. But to a certain extent they could change their habitat as well as their landlords. They had more personal freedom than the dependent peasants of the earlier periods.

The landlord force of the Southern Song Dynasty had been, by and large, kept intact during the Yuan Dynasty. The socalled “power-ful families” of the Yuan period were similar to the “official and influ-ential households” of the Song period. Among them were the powerful households of Mongol aristocracy. These aristocrats owned land; some owned “land endowments” in addition to land. Peasants living on these “endowments” had to pay not only taxes to the government but also tribute to their Mongol lords. The monastery landlords were among the most prominent, and the most influential of the monasteries were those of Lamaism.

According to the household registration system of the Yuan Dyasty there were “upper” and “secondary” (or “middle”) households that belonged to landlords. Most households were classified as “lower”; they belonged to poor people like independent or semi- independent small holders. The Yuan situation was not much different from that of the Song when landlords, big or small, tried in every way to evade taxes and other governmental obligations, leaving the burden to small farmers who were the least able to shoulder it.

Other than these households described above, there were also special households for military men, couriers, artisans, salt-miners, scholars, physicians, etc. They shouldered the feudal burden in various degrees.

Comparatively speaking, Yuan society had more slaves, derogatorily referred to as “captives”. Some belonged to the government, while others were individually owned. Most slaves were former civil-ians captured during military campaigns. As private property, they could be bought or sold along with horses, sheep, and cattle. The hu-man market was sometimes described as “brisk”. Slaves were even sold abroad.

It must be noted that the Mongols, having entered the Central Plains, brought with them some backward practices and customs, which had a negative impact on social production. Fortunately, the bad influence was regional and temporary. Taking China or the Mongol nation as a whole, we see progress in social production. In fact, the vast borderlands were feudalized or more intensively feudalized, and the ties between various ethnic groups were strengthened. In this re-gard, the Mongols merely followed the footsteps of the previous re-gimes, like those of the Five Dynasties, the Song, the Liao, and the Jin, and achieved more than their predecessors. Important social develop-ments could be found in the northeast where the Liao and the Jin used to be, in the area of the West Xia, and in modern Mongolia , Xinjiang , Tibet , and Yunnan .

The entry of the Liao and Jin into the Central Plains sped up the feudalization of the northeast. During the Five Dynasties, the Song, and the Yuan, an uneven pace of development was seen among the various ethnic grops living in the northeast. The Qidans and Ntizhens, who formed the bulk of the population in the Liao and the Jin respec-tively, had stayed for a long time at the stage of slave society. Later, under the influence of an advanced form of production in China proper, they gradually marched towards feudalism. Late during the eleventh century, the process of feudalization among the Qidans was near its completion, and the feudal system of government matured. The feudalization of the Niizhens, on the other hand, was not complet-ed until the middle of the twelfth century. In the process, large num-bers of the slave-owning Ntizhen nobles transformed themselves into parasitic landlords who lived on rent. The Jill rulers, to practise feudal rule, followed the example of the Northern Song insofar as political adrninistration and collection of taxes were concerned. Later, most of the Ntizhens moved to live in China proper and became completely integrated with the Han Chinese. They could not even speak their own native language. As for the remaining Ntizhens living in the northeast, their social development was still slow. It is certain, however, that when the Mongols rose in the 13th century, social feudalization had already taken place in part of the northeast. The processes continued even after the Yuan had established its unified rule over the whole country. However, some places remained in a backward state. There were some ethnic groups, including some of the Nuzhens , that, living in the remotest areas of the country, were still in the stage of a slave society or the later stage of primitive gens society.

Feudalization in the Mongol area was more or less completed when Kublai Khan established his control over all of China . By then the Mongols had made considerable progress in developing animal husbandry. Since fertile pastures had been seized by feudal owners, large numbers of herdsmen suffered from oppression and exploitation, as they grazed their animals on grounds designated by pasture owners and paid tributes and taxes. Agriculture also made progress. Han Chinese were often sent by Kublai to the Mongol area to popularize agricultural technology and to encourage the Mongols to engage in agriculture in addition to their husbandry activities. Reclamation of land was also carried out by the armed forces on a great scale. Agriculture thus made headway in Mongolia .

In the area of the West Xia, the feudalization of the Dangxiang people was obvious. They had taken the road to feudalism when Yuan Hao established the West Xia Kingdom . In economy and culture, the kingdom absorbed many new things from the Northern Song. Feudal-ism had already taken roots in the West Xia when Genghis Khan conquered it.

Before the appearance of the West Liao, the Uygurs who had moved westward from the Mongol grasslands to the Turpan basin of modem Xinjiang towards the end of the Tang Dynasty, established the kingdom of Gaochang . The territory of the kingdom extended east-ward to Hami, westward to the Pamirs, northward to the Tianshan Range , and southward to Hotan. It occupied most of today’s Uygur Autonomous Region. Harahojia, located in the eastern section of modem Turpan County , was its capital. With agriculture as their main occupation, the Uygurs had then entered the period of feudal society. Dependent on the feudal lords for their survival, serfs had to pay them tributes and taxes and could be sold at any time when the land they tilled was sold. In some places, the system of tenancy and exploitation by usury were practised. In addition to the five cereals, the kingdom produced such cash crops as cotton and grapes. Sericulture was also fairly developed. Handicraft industries such as cotton weaving, wine distilling, iron smelting, and jade carving were developed to a high level. Gaochang maintained a close political and economic tie with the Liao and the Song. Located on the route of communication and trans-portation between the East and the West, it was a centre of cultural and economic exchange. During the twelfth century it was subject to control by the West Liao. In 1209, Genghis Khan incorporated it as part of the Mongol empire and put it under a local satrap of his. Then it became known as Uygur instead of Gaochang. From the early peri-od of Mongol rule to the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongols received much cultural influence from the Uygurs, who were greatly influenced by Han culture. Kublai paid great attention to the development of the Uygur area. He extended the land reclamation campaign on an even wider scale. To meet the requirements of agricultural production in the area, he established a metallurgical bureau to make farm implements and provided aid to impoverished peasants who could hardly carry on production. “To develop handicraft industry, Kublai sent Han artisans to Shanshan (modem Ruoqiang County , Xinjiang) to teach local peo-ple the technique of bow making.

Tibet was, as before, inhabited by the Tufans during the Song- Yuan period. Under the impact of slave uprisings and uprisings by various ethnic groups towards the end of the Tang Dynasty, they gradually entered the stage of feudalism. The feudal lords had taken possession of all land. Serfs engaged in agriculture and stock-breeding and paid rent and tribute for using the land. During the period of the Five Dynasties, the Song, and the Yuan, there was further develop-ment of feudalism. Though living under a separate rule in Tibet , the Tufans had already been on friendly terms with the Han Chinese and other ethnic groups. Frequent contacts went on between Rgyal Sras, a Tufan who maintained an independent regime in Qinghai , and the government of the Northern Song, which bestowed upon him the title of satrap. In the name of “paying tributes” and “returning favours” to the Northern Song, oxen and horses were bartered for silk, tea and medicine. After Kublai established unified rule over China , Tibet was put under the direct administration of the Council of Buddhist Affairs, with Grand Lamas or Di Shi (the Emperor’s Buddhist Teacher) in control. This led to a closer contact between Tibet and China proper. The Tufan people, from then on, lived in comparative peace which enabled them to engage in constructive labour and develop production. To promote trade between the Han people and the Tibetans and other ethnic groups, the Yuan government opened an official border-region market at Lizhou (modern Hanyuan County , Sichuan ). Postal stations were built all the way from China proper to Tibet .

Not long before the founding of the Northern Song, a Dali regime rose in Yunnan . Controlled mainly by people of the Bai ethnic group, it came into existence more than 30 years after the fall of the Southern Zhao . It was a feudal regime, as compared to the slave rule of the Southern Zhao . It constructed water conservancy works to promote agriculture in the area of the Er Hai Lake, and in animal husbandry, it encouraged horse raising, as horses were an important export item when trading with China proper. Achievement was made in literature, history, paintings, artistic carving, and architecture. The works were marked with strong national characteristics, though benefiting from the cultural infusion with the Han Chinese. During the Yuan Dynasty, an executive secretariat replacing the Dali regime was set up, incorpo-rating Yunnan into the civil administration of the central government. People of different ethnic groups flowed into Yunnan , including Mon-gols, Han Chinese, Uygurs, and the Hui. They joined hands with the native people, such as the Bai, the Yi, the Dai, the Naxi, and file Hani peoples to develop the fatherland’s southwest. Sayyid Ejell, a Muslim, built water conservancy works in Yunnan , popularized the culture of the Han Chinese, and improved the relations among various ethnic groups. Zhang Lidao, a Han Chinese, fought successfully against floods in the Dian Chi Lake area, built good fields, and introduced new techniques in farming. During the period of the Yuan Dynasty many ethnic groups in Yunnan , at one time or another, entered a feudal society. The Naxi and Dai ethnic groups also began a period of transi-tion from slavery to feudalism. There were, of course, others still re-maining primitive.

China’s Communications with the Outside World

During the period of the Five Dynasties, the Song, and especially the Yuan, the economic and cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries were greatly developed. During the Five Dynasties, the three important trading ports with the outside world were Guangzhou , Quanzhou, and Hangzhou . Following the example of the Tang, the Song and Yuan dynasties established a harbour administration in charge of foreign trade in each of the major trading ports, such as Guangzhou , Quanzhou, Hangzhou , Mingzhou, Wenzhou and Mi-zhou (now Jiaoxi County , Shandong ). The most important trading ports during the Yuan Dynasty were Guangzhou , Quanzhou, Shanghai , Ganpu (modem Haiyan County , Zhejiang ), Wenzhou , Hangzhou , and Qingyuan (modem Ningbo City , Zhejiang ). Tariffs collected by vari-ous harbour administrations during the Song and Yuan dynasties constituted a very large proportion of state revenue. During the Song Dynasty, tariff was fixed at one-fifteenth to one-fifth of the value of goods; sometimes it was as high as four-tenths. During the Yuan Dy-nasty, the ratio was one-thirtieth to one-fifth.

During the Song-Yuan period, shipbuilding and navigation were highly developed in China . In terms of equipment, freight capacity and navigational skill China was among the most advanced in the world. Its ships sailed to Japan , Korea , Indo-China , Burma , Malaya , the Indonesian islands, the Philippines , Bangladesh , India , Pakistan Sri Lanka, the Persian Gulf states, Arabia , Egypt , the eastem coast of Africa and the Mediterranean coast. Among the export goods from China were silk, porcelain, lacquerware, gold, silver, zinc and lead. Among the import goods were pearls, hawksbill turtle, rhinoceros, horns, elephant tusk, coral, agate, frankincense, spices and medicine The Song and Yuan governments paid great attention to foreign trade Foreign merchants and diplomatic envoys were well received; some-times they were granted official titles.

During the Song-Yuan period, the Silk Road once again became an important overland route between the East and the West. Merchant, carried on their trade along the route, and Christian missionaries came to the East by following the same route. In 1245 Father Giovanni dc Piano Carpini was sent by Pope Innocent IV of the Roman Catholic Church to Kara Korum to visit Guyuk Khan. He attended the ceremo-ny at which Guyuk was made Great Khan. The Khan granted him at audience, during which Carpini requested the Khan to cultivate faith in Catholicism. In his letter to the Pope, he asked the Pope and all Christian Kings to come to China to pay homage to him. In 1253 Louis IX of France sent Father Guillaume de Rubrujuis to Kara Korum to visit with Mangu Khan, who granted an audience in the following year. As usual, Mangu Khan, in his letter to the French King asked the latter to swear allegiance to him and pay tribute to his court Both preachers wrote travel notes after they returned to their own countries. These notes are important materials in studying Mongol history. Among the missionaries who had come to China from the West from the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty were Giovanni de Montecorvino, Odorico de Pordenone, and Giovanni de Marignolli. In 1292 or thereabouts, Giovanni de Montecorvino came to China . Liv-ing in Dadu, he founded two churches and was made archbishop Odorico de Pordenone arrived in China around 1325. He visited many places in China , including Yangzhou and Dadu. While in Guangzhou , Quanzhou, Hangzhou , China , he had personal contact with Giovanni de Montecorvino. In 1330 he returned to Europe . Giovanni de Marignolli arrived at Dadu in 1342. He paid respects to Emperoi Shun Di, to whom he presented a white horse, called a “heavenly horse”. In 1347, he left Quanzhou by the sea route.

Among the Western travellers of this period none was better known than Marco Polo. Even today, his Travels is still a most valu-able source in studying the history of the Yuan Dynasty and its rela-tions with the West. Marco Polo was a Venetian from Italy . In 1271, he followed his father and uncle Asia and arrived at Shangdu in in passing across West and Central1275. He was received by Kublai Khan. He visited many places in China and wrote about important events. He described vividly the might of the Mongol empire and the prosperity of Dadu. He praised highly the courier system of China and courier stations. In 1292, after living in China for 17 years, he sailed from China ‘s Quanzhou for Persia , wherefrom he returned to his homeland Venice . Reportedly, his Christopher Columbus and Vasco book Travels inspired such men as da Gama in their search for a route to the East.

In the wake of Marco Polo came Ibn Batuta, a Moroccan who journeyed to India first and then arrived in China by the sea route. While in China he visited Guangzhou , Quanzhou, Hangzhou and many other places. He returned home by sailing from Quanzhou. In his book, he wrote about people’s life, customs and tradition, economic production and industrial arts in China .

During the Song-Yuan period, China maintained close cultural ties with Korea and Japan . Medically, Korea felt China ‘s influence as early as the Tang Dynasty. During the Song-Yuan period, Chinese medical books and medicines arrived in Korea in a continuous flow, and Chinese doctors were invited to Korea . Meanwhile, such medici- nes as ginseng and antlers were imported from Korea , and important Korean medical works were also found in China . While learning paper making from China , Korea also manufactured its own tough and fine-grained paper made of cotton. During the Song Dynasty, it was among the items imported from Korea . Though Korea learned the making of writing brushes from China , writing brushes made of weasel hair originated in Korea . By the Song Dynasty, such Korean writing brush-es had won great fame in China . Later, China manufactured its own weasel hair brushes by copying those from Korea . With the passage of time, some old Chinese books were lost in China , but they could still be found in Korea . Meanwhile, many Korean books were introduced into China . During the Song-Yuan period, many Chinese medical works, including The Cleansing of Wrongs (Xi yuan lu) by Song Ci found their way into Japan . Japan imported from China such medici-nes as musk, croton, realgar, and cinnabar. Many Japanese came to China to study medical science. Towards the end of the Southern Song Dynasty, many Japanese were sent to China to study the technology of making porcelain; meanwhile, Japanese paintings and calligraphy found their way into China and were well received.

During the Song-Yuan period, Chinese culture continued to have its influence felt in Persia and several Arab countries. The political and economical institutions of theiI1-Khanate, established by the Mongols in Persia , were strongly affected by Chinese influence. Chi-nese medical knowledge had been long disseminated in Persia . Rashid al-Din, a Persian who served as Prime Minister of the I1-Khanate, was a great historian and an expert physician. His Collected Histories is an important work on Mongolian history. In 1313 he compiled a book entitled The I1-Khanate Treasure House of Chinese Medical Science. It covered such subject matters as pulse feeling, anatomy, embryology, gynaecology and pharmacology; it especially quoted Wang Shuhe, a well-known physician of the Jin Dynasty who wrote Classic on Pulse.

During the Yuan Dynasty Persian and Arab culture was introduced into China on a large scale. Great numbers of Persians and Ar-abs, known to the Chinese as Huihuis, arrived in China . Belonging to the Semu group, they later formed part of China ‘s Muslim community. Many of these new immigrants were intellectuals who brought Persian and Arab culture into China . The Chinese attached special value to Arab astronomy, calendar-making, and medical science. During the Yuan Dynasty, a Muslim astronomical department was instituted within the government, and Arab and Persian methods were used in making astronomical observations, on the basis of which China made its calendar. In 1267 Jamal al-Din, a Muslim, made a set of astronomical apparatus by himself and used it in astronomical observations. The Ming government simultaneously used two calendars, Chinese and Muslim, and continued the Yuan practice of having a Muslim astro-nomical department in the administration. This remained unchanged until the early period of the Qing Dynasty. In mathematics, it was possible that the Greek mathematician Euclid’s Geometry was trans-lated from Arab into Chinese during the Yuan Dynasty, according to recent studies. In 1270, Kublai Khan established not only a Muslim medical department for the production of Muslim medicines, but also two Muslim pharmacological academies in two capitals (Dadu and Shangdu). Muslim physicians were especially known for their extraordinary skill in the treatment of rare diseases. During the Ming Dynasty, a book entitled Muslim Prescriptions was published in both Chinese and Persian. In addition, many Muslim artisans proficient in weaving were transferred to China proper and employed in the pro-duction of silk and a special kind of cloth known as sadalaqi. There was even a sadalaqi department, headed by a Muslim, in charge of the production of this kind of cloth.

The culture of Nepal was. also introduced into China during the Yuan Dynasty. At the invitation of Kublai Khan, a great architect of Nepal named Amico came to Dadu and was entrusted with the task of building palaces for the royal house. He sculptured many Buddhist statues in Dadu and Shangdu and repaired a bronze acupuncture statue. He was referred to as a genius. Moreover, he passed his unique skill to Liu Yuan of Baodi (located near modern Tianjin ), who also became a famous sculptor.

The Chinese invented the compass and were the first to use it in navigation. During the Song-Yuan period, merchant ships from China , Persia , and Arabia were very active on the high seas. Ships from Chi-na were known for their speed and size, their direction being guided by compass. It was possible that Persian and Arab ships learned the use of the compass during this period in history. Later Europeans also learned its use.

The Chinese art of printing became known to Japan during the eighth century. It was introduced to Korea during the tenth century and to Egypt during the twelfth century or perhaps a little earlier. Not until the thirteenth century did the I1-Khanate of Persia learn it and then introduced it to Africa and Europe . Towards the end of the four-teenth century block printing appeared for the first time in Europe . Movable type was invented in China during the eleventh century. It was introduced into Korea during the thirteenth century and to Europe at a later date.

The introduction of firearms to the West was closely related to the Mongols’ western campaign early in the thirteenth century. Nitre, indispensable to the production of gunpowder, was known as ” Chinese salt ” to the Persians and as ” Chinese snow ” to the Arabs. Persians and Arabs learned about nitrate in the eighth or ninth century. Not until the twelfth or thirteenth century did Arab merchants bring gunpowder to the Near East . During their military campaigns in Central Asia and Persia , the Mongols used weapons made of gunpowder. Fighting with the Mongols, the Arabs learned the use of firearms. The Europeans learned the use of firearms in the same fashion.

After the demise of the Qin and Han dynasties, the intercourse between China and foreign countries was most active during the Song.and Yuan dynasties. It played an important role in the feudal history of China . The development of social economy and culture in China helped China ‘s foreign relations, and the development of China ‘s for- eign relations, in turn, helped China ‘s economic and cultural development. China then adopted an open-door policy towards people from the outside. But this policy changed during the Ming Dynasty.