Song Dynasty ( 960- 1279 CE)
by Shuban and Hank
The founder and first ruler of the Song Dynasty was Sung T'ai Tsu. He rose to power by working as a military leader under the Tang Dynasty. During his rule he did many things to expand and unify China. For example, he chose governors based on their ability instead of their wealth and background. If someone wanted to be a governor they had take a very difficult exam called a civil service examination which strengthened the Chinese government. Due to new civil service system China made new discoveries and inventions. The Song Dynasty started to decline when they didn't maintain a strong army by spending all China's money on buildings and other projects. The military decline caused a group of barbarians called the Khitans to invade and conquer part of Northern China. The Song were forced to make huge payments to the Khitans which resulted in higher taxes. Then the Song started to ignore the hardships of the poor. The entire Song Dynasty was soon defeated by Northern invaders from Mongolia in 1279 CE.
This is a picture of Sung T'ai Tsu, the founder of the Song Dynasty.
The Song did many things to maintain a strong economy. For example, they were the first dynasty to do trade outside of China. They traded with many countries such as India, and many middle eastern countries. They also created large ships to carry cargo around the Indian ocean.The Song used coins with holes in them to help keep track of money. During the Song dynasty many goods became very important such as iron, steel, silk, rice, and coal. Pottery was also very popular at the time. One of the most important jobs at the time was blacksmithing. This was because the iron production rate grew. Also, farmers and printers became quality jobs. Overall during the Song dynasty, trade and economics blossomed and that was very beneficial to the strength of China.
This is a picture of a Song dynasty coin. It has a convenient hole in the middle for easy transportation.
INVENTIONS/ TECHNOLOGY/ SCIENCE & ARCHITECTURE
The Song Dynasty of China was responsible for many inventions that we still use today. One of those inventions was the compass. The compass allowed people to travel without getting lost and it also benefited trading with other countries. Another one of their inventions was printing. The Chinese would carve words or pictures into wooden blocks, ink them, then press them onto paper. This was a huge invention because there were around 3,000 symbols in the Chinese language, so this helped them write faster. They also invented gunpowder which was an asset in the Chinese military and it helped them become one of the most efficient armies at the time. The Song also made a couple buildings. One of these buildings was the rainbow bridge. It was a bridge in a dramatic center of Beijing that allowed pedestrians to cross a river. It is called a " rainbow bridge" because of how its arches resemble a rainbow. Another iconic building was the pagoda in Kaifeng ( Song's capital). A pagoda is tall tower with multiple eaves but this one is special because it was one of the tallest buildings in China. Without the Song Dynasty the world would not be as technologically advanced as it is today.
This is a picture of a Chinese printing block.
This is a painting of a Chinese warrior using gunpowder to light a rocket.
This is a picture of the rainbow bridge.
RELIGION/ CULTURE/ SOCIAL LIFE
During the song dynasty many different religions were used but the most popular was Buddhism. Also, Neo-Confucianism grew during the Song dynasty. The Song were very good at creating beautiful ceramics such as plates, bowls, cups, vases, pots, and headrests. These all had many intricate designs. Life during the Song dynasty was like many other ancient civilizations. For women, when they married, they left their families and lived with their husbands. If they gave birth to boys, they were respected. Old woman were thought as wise and treated with much respect. Only wealthy boys could attend school. Most had hopes of becoming a high class government official. Girls stayed at home and helped their mothers. Most men were farmers at the time and worked most of the day.The Song dynasty was mostly focused on maintaining a strong government.
This is the Chinese symbol for Buddhism.