Imperial China

Sui (589 – 618)
T’ang (624 – 755)
Sung (960 – 1279)
Yuan (1279 – 1368)

Second Empire – Sui Dynasty & T’ang Dynasty
– unified the north, then conquered the south to unify the country
– re-established the central government
– restored the tax base, continued work on the Great Wall
– built the Grand Canal, allowed the north to tap the wealth of central & south China
– hardships & casualties from the wars w/ Korea created discontent
– rebellions led by aristocrats, winner = founder of T’ang dynasty
– Sui created the foundation for T’ang much like the Ch’in was the foundation for Han

– establishing peace allowed for an adequate tax base, extension of borders, Confucian scholars were employed & Buddhist temples flourished – these were the best years
– Government – centralized
– 3 branches (Military affairs, Censorate, Council of State)
– Military supervised the armies (commander in chief)
– Censorate was the “watch-dog” reported abuses of government to the emperor
– Council of State met daily with the emperor, created policies
– all land property of the emperor
– all able-bodies farmers got land (equally – women got less)
– aristocrats were exempt from this and held their land
– public officials usually drawn from aristocrats
– public officials had to pass an exam – to earn a prestigious position
– exams were based on Confucius classics
– Empress Wu
– Entranced the heir to the throne (she was a concubine of the emperor)
– She was recalled (from the nunnery) by the heir when he took the throne
– She “removed” her rivals and became empress
– Murdered or exiled the statesmen who opposed her
– When emperor had a stroke, she took over the court
– After his death, she ruled, dethroned her son & became emperor herself
– Only woman emperor in Chinese history
– A fervent Buddhist
– Strong sexual appetites
– Removed when she was 80
– effects of her machinations seemed to strengthen central government