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Home » The History of China's Foreign Relations » ch. 3: the song and tenuous multiplicities

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4/9/2009 2:12:32 PM

john wills
john wills
Posts: 19
Subject: ch. 3: the song and tenuous multiplicities
The late Tang, Five Dynasties, and Northern Song are seen as a period of great economic growth and of social transformation, with a much more productive and commercialized economy and a much broader elite seeking office through examinations. The consequences for foreign relations were paradoxical. Neighboring peoples, stimulated by trade with China and by the example of Chinese prosperity and stable rule, sought to build similar political orders of their own – Japan, Korea, the Khitan Liao, the Tangut Xi Xia, the Jurchen Jin, Nanzhao in modern Yunnan, Vietnam. In many of these societies Buddhism remained very strong, while the Song elite began to turn away from it.
The complex interstate diplomacy of this period involved the northern and southern states of the "Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms", the Song, the Liao, Jin, Xi Xia, and the Korean kingdoms. A frequent pattern had the more productive areas of central and south China paying "tribute" to the rulers of the north. Perhaps the most stable form of this was the relation between Southern Song and Jin. But it was bitterly resented by Song intellectuals and became a factor in their long struggle to turn away from Buddhism and associated cosmopolitan¬isms and to found state and culture on revived Confucian principles. Northern Song efforts to break with this pattern and to develop a rich state and a strong military foundered on their own excesses and factional controversy in the era of Wang Anshi. The Southern Song combined military stasis with commercial prosperity, most spectacularly in the emergence of Quanzhou as one of the world’s greatest seaports.

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H. Franke and D. Twitchett, eds., Cambridge History of China, Vol. 6.

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Keith W. Taylor, The Birth of Vietnam. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1983.

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