A report on Song dynasty

The Song dynasty at its greatest extent in 1111
Emperor Taizu of Song (960–976), a court portrait painting
A portrait of Emperor Taizong of Song ( 976–997)
A wooden Bodhisattva from the Song dynasty (960–1279).
A Liao dynasty polychrome wood-carved statue of Guan Yin, Shanxi Province, China, (907–1125)
A portrait of Emperor Gaozong of Song (r. 1127–1162)
Southern Song in 1142. The western and southern borders remain unchanged from the previous map. However, the north of the Qinling Huaihe Line was under the control of the Jin dynasty. The Xia dynasty's territory generally remained unchanged. In the southwest, the Song dynasty bordered a territory about a sixth its size, the Dali dynasty.
Emperor Taizu of Song, Emperor Taizong of Song, prime minister Zhao Pu and other ministers playing Cuju, an early form of football, by Qian Xuan (1235–1305)
A 12th-century painting by Su Hanchen; a girl waves a peacock feather banner like the one used in dramatical theater to signal an acting leader of troops.
The Donglin Academy, an educational institution equivalent to modern-day college. It was originally built in 1111 during the Northern Song dynasty.
Traction trebuchet on an Early Song Dynasty warship from the Wujing Zongyao. Trebuchets like this were used to launch the earliest type of explosive bombs.
Armoured Song cavalry
The Liaodi Pagoda, the tallest pre-modern Chinese pagoda, built in 1055; it was intended as a Buddhist religious structure, yet served a military purpose as a watchtower for reconnaissance.
Chinese calligraphy of mixed styles written by Song dynasty poet Mi Fu (1051–1107)
Portrait of the Chinese Zen Buddhist Wuzhun Shifan, painted in 1238 AD.
Dried jujubes such as these were imported to Song China from South Asia and the Middle East. An official from Canton was invited to the home of an Arab merchant, and described the jujube as thus: "This fruit is the color of sugar, its skin and its pulp are sweet, and it gives the impression, when you eat it, of having first been cooked in the oven and then allowed to dry."
Earliest known written formula for gunpowder, from the Wujing Zongyao of 1044 AD.
Facsimile of Zhu Shijie's Jade Mirror of Four Unknowns
The Yu Ji Tu, or "Map of the Tracks of Yu", carved into stone in 1137, located in the Stele Forest of Xi'an. This 3 ft squared map features a graduated scale of 100 li for each rectangular grid. China's coastline and river systems are clearly defined and precisely pinpointed on the map. Yu refers to the Chinese deity described in the geographical chapter of the Book of Documents, dated 5th–3rd centuries BCE.
A plan and side view of a canal pound lock, a concept pioneered in 984 by the Assistant Commissioner of Transport for Huainan, the engineer Qiao Weiyo.
are lines of Song dynasty stone statues
Scholars of the Song dynasty claim to have collected ancient relics dating back as far as the Shang dynasty, such as this bronze ding vessel.

Imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279.

- Song dynasty
The Song dynasty at its greatest extent in 1111

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The empire during the reign of Wu Zetian, circa 700

Tang dynasty

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Imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an interregnum between 690 and 705.

Imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an interregnum between 690 and 705.

The empire during the reign of Wu Zetian, circa 700
Portrait painting of Emperor Gaozu (born Li Yuan, 566–635), the first Tang Emperor.
Empress Wu (Wu Zetian), the sole officially recognized empress regnant of China in more than two millennia. She first ruled through her husband and sons for almost three decades, then became emperor herself and ruled in her own right for another fifteen years.
Map of An Lushan Rebellion
The Leshan Giant Buddha, 71 m high; begun in 713, completed in 803
Nanchan Temple (Wutai), built during the late 8th century
Xumi Pagoda, built in 636
A late Tang mural commemorating the victory of General Zhang Yichao over the Tibetans in 848 AD, from Mogao cave 156
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang wearing the robes and hat of a scholar
Tang tomb figure of an official dressed in Hanfu, with a tall hat, wide-sleeved belted outer garment, and rectangular "kerchief" in front. A white inner gown hangs over his square shoes. He holds a tablet to his chest, a report to his superiors.
Civil service exam candidates gather around the wall where results had been posted. Artwork by Qiu Ying.
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang giving audience to Zhang Guo, by Ren Renfa (1254–1327)
Emperor Taizong (r. 626–649) receives Gar Tongtsen Yülsung, ambassador of the Tibetan Empire, at his court; later copy of an original painted in 641 by Yan Liben (600–673)
The Chinese Tang dynasty during its greatest extension, controlling large parts of Central Asia.
Chinese officer of the Guard of Honour. Tomb of Princess Chang-le (长乐公主墓), Zhao Mausoleum, Shaanxi province. Tang Zhenguan year 17, i.e. 644 CE
A 10th-century mural painting in the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang showing monastic architecture from Mount Wutai, Tang dynasty; Japanese architecture of this period was influenced by Tang Chinese architecture
Tomb figure of mounted warrior similar to the one unearthed from the tomb of Crown Prince Li Chongrun
Tomb guardian (wushi yong), early 8th century
A bas relief of a soldier and the emperor's horse, Autumn Dew, with elaborate saddle and stirrups, designed by Yan Liben, from the tomb of Emperor Taizong c. 650
Illustration of Byzantine embassy to Tang Taizong 643 CE
Tang dynasty Kai Yuan Tong Bao (開元通寳) coin, first minted in 621 in Chang'an, a model for the Japanese 8th-century Wadōkaichin
Sancai glazed horse tomb figure
Tomb figure of a horse with a carefully sculpted saddle, decorated with leather straps and ornamental fastenings featuring eight-petalled flowers and apricot leaves.
A contract from the Tang dynasty that records the purchase of a 15-year-old slave for six bolts of plain silk and five Chinese coins. Found in the Astana Cemetery in Turfan.
Tomb Figure of a Sogdian merchant, 7th-century
A mural depicting a corner tower, most likely one of Chang'an, from the tomb of Prince Yide (d. 701) at the Qianling Mausoleum, dated 706
Map of Chang'an in Tang Dynasty
The bronze Jingyun Bell cast 711, height 247 cm high, weight 6,500 kg, now in the Xi'an Bell Tower
A Tang dynasty era copy of the preface to the Lantingji Xu poems composed at the Orchid Pavilion Gathering, originally attributed to Wang Xizhi (303–361 AD) of the Jin dynasty
A poem by Li Bai (701–762 AD), the only surviving example of Li Bai's calligraphy, housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Calligraphy of Emperor Taizong on a Tang stele
A Tang dynasty sculpture of a Bodhisattva
An 8th-century silk wall scroll from Dunhuang, showing the paradise of Amitabha
A timber hall built in 857, located at the Buddhist Foguang Temple of Mount Wutai, Shanxi
A Tang sancai-glazed carved relief showing horseback riders playing polo
A late Tang or early Five Dynasties era silk painting on a banner depicting Guanyin and a female attendant in silk robes, from the Dunhuang caves, now in the British Museum
Palace ladies in a garden from a mural of Prince Li Xian's tomb in the Qianling Mausoleum, where Wu Zetian was also buried in 706
Tang era gilt-gold bowl with lotus and animal motifs
A Tang sancai-glazed lobed dish with incised decorations, 8th century
Tomb figure of a lady attendant, 7th- to 8th-century; during the Tang era, female hosts prepared feasts, tea parties, and played drinking games with their guests.
A rounded "offering plate" with design in "three colors" (sancai) glaze, 8th-century
A page of Lu Yu's The Classic of Tea
A square bronze mirror with a phoenix motif of gold and silver inlaid with lacquer, 8th-century
The Diamond Sutra, printed in 868, is the world's first widely printed book to include a specific date of printing.
The Dunhuang map, a star map showing the North Polar region. c. 700. The whole set of star maps contains over 1,300 stars.
"Great Tang" (Dà Táng) in seal characters.
A Tang Dynasty sancai statuette of Sogdian musicians riding on a Bactrian camel, 723 AD, Xi'an.

The rule of these powerful military governors lasted until 960, when a new civil order under the Song dynasty was established.

Yuan dynasty (c. 1294)
Goryeo was a semi-autonomous vassal state

Yuan dynasty

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Successor state to the Mongol Empire after its division and a conquest dynasty of imperial China established by Kublai (Emperor Shizu), leader of the Mongol Borjigin clan, lasting from 1271 to 1368.

Successor state to the Mongol Empire after its division and a conquest dynasty of imperial China established by Kublai (Emperor Shizu), leader of the Mongol Borjigin clan, lasting from 1271 to 1368.

Yuan dynasty (c. 1294)
Goryeo was a semi-autonomous vassal state
Mongol successor khanates
Yuan dynasty (c. 1294)
Goryeo was a semi-autonomous vassal state
Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan dynasty
Guan Daosheng "the most famous and talented female painter and calligrapher in Chinese history" flourished in the Yuan dynasty
The Bailin Temple Pagoda of Zhaoxian County, Hebei Province, built in 1330 during the Yuan dynasty
A Yuan dynasty jade swan
A Yuan dynasty blue-and-white porcelain dish with fish and flowing water design, mid-14th century, Freer Gallery of Art
Yuan porcelain jar
Yuan underglaze blue Jingdezhen porcelain plate
A plate made of lacquer, wood, and paper from the Yuan dynasty. The Chinese were able to perfect a method of making lacquer. Decorating this plate are parrots and peonies. The parrot was a symbol of fidelity; because of its ability to mimic human speech, it was believed to be a suitable companion to a woman whose husband was away from home. The bird would be able to inform each person of the other's activities. The peony was a symbol of female virtue. When shown in full bloom, it is a token of love, affection, and feminine beauty. Birmingham Museum of Art.
The Yuan dynasty arched bridges of Taicang were built to show the prosperity the city enjoyed under the Yuan.
Yuan dynasty coinage
Map of the Northwest territory
A diagram of Pascal's triangle in Zhu Shijie's Jade Mirror of the Four Unknowns, written in 1303
Yang Hui's Magic Circle
Yuan dynasty banknote with its printing plate, 1287
A revolving typecase with individual movable type characters from Wang Zhen's Nong Shu, published in 1313
Blue-and-white Covered Jar with Fretwork Floral Design in Red and Blue Glaze, excavated in Baoding
Painting of Kublai Khan on a hunting expedition, by Chinese court artist Liu Guandao, c. 1280
Wine jar with fish and aquatic plants, 14th century. Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue decoration. Brooklyn Museum.
Manichaean Diagram of the Universe, a painting describing Yuan period Manichaean cosmology
A Yuan Qingbai porcelain statue of Guanyin, a bodhisattva of Mahayana Buddhism
Box with pavilion and figures, Yuan dynasty.
Covered box with lunar palace, 14th century. Yuan dynasty.
Jinan Great Southern Mosque was completed during the reign of Temür Khan (the Emperor Chengzong of Yuan).
Administrative divisions of the Yuan dynasty.
Mongol Empire's Ayimaq in North China
Magic square in Arabic numerals (Yuan dynasty)
smelting machines (Yuan dynasty)
Water wheel (Yuan dynasty)
Water hammer (Yuan dynasty)
Weaving machine (Yuan dynasty)
water mill gear (Yuan dynasty)
loom (Yuan dynasty)
Yuan painting (Zhao Mengfu)
Chuangzi Nu (Yuan dynasty)<ref name="bm">{{cite web |url = http://www.grandhistorian.com/chinesesiegewarfare/index-english12122007.html |title=Archived copy |access-date=November 11, 2009 |url-status=dead |archive-url = https://web.archive.org/web/20091202081843/http://www.grandhistorian.com/chinesesiegewarfare/index-english12122007.html |archive-date=December 2, 2009 }}</ref>
Military costume.
Yuan painting of a legendary figure riding on a dragon.
Yuan cavalry
Yuan Mongol soldier
Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan during his youth
Mongol rider (Yuan dynasty)
Chinese stone inscription of a Nestorian Christian Cross from a monastery of Fangshan District in Beijing (then called Dadu, or Khanbaliq), dated to the Yuan Dynasty

In orthodox Chinese historiography, the Yuan dynasty followed the Song dynasty and preceded the Ming dynasty.

Location of Jin dynasty (blue), c. 1141

Jin dynasty (1115–1234)

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The Jin dynasty or Jin State (Jurchen: Anchun Gurun), officially known as the Great Jin, lasted from 1115 to 1234 as one of the last dynasties in Chinese history to predate the Mongol conquest of China.

The Jin dynasty or Jin State (Jurchen: Anchun Gurun), officially known as the Great Jin, lasted from 1115 to 1234 as one of the last dynasties in Chinese history to predate the Mongol conquest of China.

Location of Jin dynasty (blue), c. 1141
Cai Wenji returning to Han, Jin dynasty painting.
Location of Jin dynasty (blue), c. 1141
Jurchen cataphracts
"Great Golden Central State O-Giao Jeo-Shio" (1196), found in now Mongolia.
Jin dynasty fresco of a Bodhisattva from Chongfu Temple (崇福寺), Shuozhou, Shanxi.
Jade ornament with flower design, Jin dynasty, Shanghai Museum.
Chinese gold plates and a chalice from the Jin Dynasty's Zhongdu.

After vanquishing the Liao, the Jin launched a century-long campaign against the Han-led Song dynasty (960–1279), which was based in southern China.

Jin dynasty (blue) and Song dynasty (orange) in 1141

Jin–Song Wars

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Jin dynasty (blue) and Song dynasty (orange) in 1141
Map showing the Song-Jurchen Jin wars
The Song and Jin were allies against the Khitan Liao. Painting of Khitan hunters, from the National Palace Museum
Jurchen chieftain Wanyan Aguda, who in 1115 became first emperor of the Jin dynasty
Modern statue of Jin emperor Taizong at the Museum of the First Capital of Jin. Taizong ordered military campaigns that led to the fall of the northern Song in 1127.
Jin invasions of Song, 1125–1126
Emperor Huizong left Kaifeng on January 28, 1126 as the Jurchen army approached the city.
A painting by Emperor Huizong. Huizong's excessive interest in the arts may have played a role in the fall of the northern Song.
Jin invasions of Song, 1126–1130
A Southern Song painting depicting the generals who stopped the Jin advance into southern China. Yue Fei (1103–1142) is second from left, the general Zhang Jun (1086–1154) fourth, and Han Shizhong (1089–1151) fifth.
Mural in the Summer Palace of Yue Fei, a general who led his forces against the Jin dynasty
Emperor Gaozong supported negotiating a peace treaty with the Jurchens, the Treaty of Shaoxing, ratified on October 11, 1142
Song dynasty river ship armed with a trebuchet catapult on its top deck, from the Wujing Zongyao
Jurchen warrior with a bow on an early 17th-century woodblock print
Battle between the Jin and Mongols in 1211, from the Jami' al-tawarikh
Mongol–Song conquest of Jurchen Jin
A medallion with writing in the Jurchen script, one of the Jin empire's three working languages
The fire lance, an early firearm first recorded at the siege of De'an in 1132, shown in the Ming dynasty Huolongjing firing pellets as projectiles
The pili huoqiu bombs at Caishi contained mixtures of lime and gunpowder. This huoqiu is from the earlier Wujing Zongyao

The Jin–Song Wars were a series of conflicts between the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty (1115–1234) and the Han-led Song dynasty (960–1279).

Bust of Shen at the Beijing Ancient Observatory

Shen Kuo

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Bust of Shen at the Beijing Ancient Observatory
The Bencao on traditional Chinese medicine; printed with woodblock printing press in 1249; Shen grew ill often as a child, and so developed an interest in medicinal cures.
Shen's confidant, Emperor Shenzong of Song (r. 1067–1085), a Song era portrait painting.
Portrait painting of Wang Anshi.
Boundaries of the Northern Song Dynasty, the Liao Dynasty, and the Western Xia.
Painting of a Buddhist luohan, by Liu Songnian, painted in 1207; Shen Kuo not only listed literati painting as one of his cherished pastimes, but also Buddhist meditation.
A Han Dynasty incense burner, showing artificial mountains as a lid decoration, which may have influenced the invention.
A side view of a pound lock for canals, invented in China in the 10th century and described by Shen.
Five bracket arm bases and two cantilever arms, from the Yingzao Fashi of 1103.
Yang Hui triangle (Pascal's triangle) using rod numerals, from a book by mathematician Zhu Shijie, 1303
An 18th-century diagram of camera obscura
A Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD) ladle-and-basin lodestone south-pointing compass, used by ancient Chinese geomancers, but not for navigation.
Bronzeware from the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC); Song era antiquarians and archeologists in search of antiques for reviving ancient rituals claimed to have found bronzewares dated as far back as the Shang era, which contained written inscriptions.
View of the Taihang Mountains, where Shen Kuo had his epiphany about geomorphology.
Bamboo and rocks by Li Kan (1244–1320); using evidence of fossilized bamboo within China's dry northwestern climate zone, Shen Kuo hypothesized that climates naturally shifted geographically over time.
Shen accurately hypothesized that rainbows were caused by sunlight passing through rain droplets.
One of the five star maps published in 1092 AD for Su Song's horological and astronomical treatise, featuring Shen Kuo's corrected position of the pole star.
The original diagram of Su Song's book of 1092 showing the inner workings of his clocktower; a mechanically rotated armillary sphere crowns the top.
The Chinese Diamond Sutra, the oldest known printed book in world history (868), using woodblock printing.
A revolving table typecase with individual movable type characters arranged primarily by rhyming scheme, from Wang Zhen's book of agriculture published in 1313.
Ideas of the philosopher Mencius deeply influenced Shen.
A painting by Dong Yuan, who Shen praised for his ability to portray landscapes and natural scenery in a grand but realistic style.
Poet and statesman Su Shi, whose pharmaceutical work was combined with Shen Kuo's in 1126, in a Yuan Dynasty portrait by Zhao Mengfu.
A sketch of Shen Kuo by an anonymous artist of the Qing dynasty, 18th century

Shen Kuo (1031–1095) or Shen Gua, courtesy name Cunzhong (存中) and pseudonym Mengqi (now usually given as Mengxi) Weng (夢溪翁), was a Chinese polymathic scientist and statesman of the Song dynasty (960–1279).

Palace Banquet by Anonymous, Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period

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Era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China.

Era of political upheaval and division in 10th-century Imperial China.

Palace Banquet by Anonymous, Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period
Map of warlords ("jiedushi") in 902, before the end of Tang dynasty
Later Liang in 907 AD
Later Tang in 926 AD
Later Jin in 939 AD
Later Han in 949 AD
Later Zhou in 951 AD
Riverbank by Dong Yuan (932–962)
Summer Palace of Emperor Ming (明皇避暑宮) by Guo Zhongshu (929–977)
The Yueyang Tower by Li Sheng (fl. 908–925)
A painting depicting weiqi players by Zhou Wenju (fl. 942–961)
Song dynasty's conquest of China (960–979)

Traditionally, the era is seen as beginning with the fall of the Tang dynasty in 907 and reaching its climax with the founding of the Song dynasty in 960.

Ming China in 1415 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor

Ming dynasty

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Imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.

Imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.

Ming China in 1415 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor
Portrait of the Hongwu Emperor (r. 1368–98)
Ming China in 1415 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor
The Great Wall of China: Although the rammed earth walls of the ancient Warring States were combined into a unified wall under the Qin and Han dynasties, the vast majority of the brick and stone Great Wall seen today is a product of the Ming dynasty.
A 17th-century Tibetan thangka of Guhyasamaja Akshobhyavajra; the Ming dynasty court gathered various tribute items that were native products of Tibet (such as thangkas), and in return granted gifts to Tibetan tribute-bearers.
Portrait of the Yongle Emperor (r. 1402–24)
The Ming Tombs located 50 km north of Beijing; the site was chosen by Yongle.
A Bengali envoy presenting a giraffe as a tributary gift in the name of King Saif Al-Din Hamzah Shah of Bengal (r. 1410–12) to the Yongle Emperor of Ming China (r. 1402–24).
The Wanli Emperor (r. 1572–1620) in state ceremonial court dress
Tianqi-era teacups, from the Nantoyōsō Collection in Japan; the Tianqi Emperor was heavily influenced and largely controlled by the eunuch Wei Zhongxian (1568–1627).
Spring morning in a Han palace, by Qiu Ying (1494–1552); excessive luxury and decadence marked the late Ming period, spurred by the enormous state bullion of incoming silver and by private transactions involving silver.
An imperial throne carpet with double dragon and seed pearl motif, Ming dynasty, 16th century
Shanhaiguan along the Great Wall, the gate where the Manchus were repeatedly repelled before being finally let through by Wu Sangui in 1644.
The Drum Tower and Bell Tower of Beijing was built in the Yuan and rebuilt in the Ming.
Portrait of the Chongzhen Emperor (r. 1627–44)
Provinces of Ming dynasty in 1409
The Forbidden City, the official imperial household of the Ming and Qing dynasties from 1420 until 1924, when the Republic of China evicted Puyi from the Inner Court.
A portrait of Jiang Shunfu, an official under the Hongzhi Emperor, now in the Nanjing Museum. The decoration of two cranes on his chest is a "rank badge" that indicates he was a civil official of the first rank.
Processional figurines from the Shanghai tomb of Pan Yongzheng, a Ming dynasty official who lived during the 16th century
Ming coinage, 14–17th century
Candidates who had taken the civil service examinations would crowd around the wall where the results were posted; detail from a handscroll in ink and color on silk, by Qiu Ying (1494–1552).
The Xuande Emperor playing chuiwan with his eunuchs, a game similar to golf, by an anonymous court painter of the Xuande period (1425–35).
Detail of The Emperor's Approach showing the Wanli Emperor's royal carriage being pulled by elephants and escorted by cavalry ([[:File:Departure Herald-Ming Dynasty.jpg|full panoramic painting here]])
Lofty Mount Lu, by Shen Zhou, 1467.
Decorated back of a pipa from the Ming dynasty
Poetry of Min Ding, 17th century
Painting of flowers, a butterfly, and rock sculpture by Chen Hongshou (1598–1652); small leaf album paintings like this one first became popular in the Song dynasty.
Ming dynasty Xuande mark and period (1426–35) imperial blue and white vase. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Chinese glazed stoneware statue of a Daoist deity, from the Ming dynasty, 16th century.
Bodhisattva Manjusri in Blanc-de-Chine, by He Chaozong, 17th century; Song Yingxing devoted an entire section of his book to the ceramics industry in the making of porcelain items like this.
Wang Yangming (1472–1529), considered the most influential Confucian thinker since Zhu Xi
A Ming dynasty print drawing of Confucius on his way to the Zhou dynasty capital of Luoyang.
A Ming dynasty red "seal paste box" in carved lacquer.
Map of Beijing in Ming Dynasty
The puddling process of smelting iron ore to make pig iron and then wrought iron, with the right illustration displaying men working a blast furnace, from the Tiangong Kaiwu encyclopedia, 1637.
Map of the known world by Zheng He: India at the top, Ceylon at the upper right and East Africa along the bottom. Sailing directions and distances are marked using zhenlu (針路) or compass route.
A 24-point compass chart employed by Zheng He during his explorations.
Portrait of Matteo Ricci by Yu Wenhui, Latinized as Emmanuel Pereira, dated the year of Ricci's death, 1610
A cannon from the Huolongjing, compiled by Jiao Yu and Liu Bowen before the latter's death in 1375.
Appreciating Plums, by Chen Hongshou (1598–1652) showing a lady holding an oval fan while enjoying the beauty of the plum.
The Xuande Emperor (r. 1425–35); he stated in 1428 that his populace was dwindling due to palace construction and military adventures. But the population was rising under him, a fact noted by Zhou Chen – governor of South Zhili – in his 1432 report to the throne about widespread itinerant commerce.

During the Ming dynasty, the Neo-Confucian doctrines of the Song scholar Zhu Xi were embraced by the court and the Chinese literati at large, although the direct line of his school was destroyed by the Yongle Emperor's extermination of the ten degrees of kinship of Fang Xiaoru in 1402.

Examination cells, Beijing

Imperial examination

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Civil-service examination system in Imperial China, administered for the purpose of selecting candidates for the state bureaucracy.

Civil-service examination system in Imperial China, administered for the purpose of selecting candidates for the state bureaucracy.

Examination cells, Beijing
Chinese Examination Cells at the South River School (Nanjiangxue) Nanjing (China). This structure prevents cheating in exams.
A model of exam cells displayed at Beijing Imperial Academy
Tang dynasty government hierarchy
The emperor receives a candidate during the Palace Examination. Song dynasty.
Kublai Khan
"The Official Career of Xu Xianqing", 1590, Ming dynasty
Examination hall, Prosperous Suzhou by Xu Yang, 1759
Gate of the Guozijian in Beijing, 1871
Gate of the Guozijian in Beijing in modern times
Gate of the Huazhou Shuyuan
Drawing of the Yingyuan Shuyuan's layout in 1860
Jin–Song Wars
Portrait of Hong Xiuquan, 1860
Examination hall with 7,500 cells, Guangdong, 1873.
A 15th-century portrait of the Ming official Jiang Shunfu. The two cranes on his chest are a "Mandarin square" for a civil official of the first rank.
"Cribbing Garment" worn as underwear into the examination
Korean candidates at the testing ground, Joseon, 18th century
Title boards of the imperial exam winners: zhuangyuan 狀元 (1st place), bangyan 榜眼 (2nd), tanhua 探花 (3rd). Qing Dynasty.
Song dynasty government hierarchy
Ming dynasty government hierarchy
A lecture hall in the Guozijian of Beijing
Interior seat at the lecture hall
Prayers hung below a statue of Confucius at the Guozijian
Prayers hung below the Confucius statue
The imperial examination hierarchy
Stone pole planted at the examiner's abode indicating the Juren imperial examination status
Exam paper of Ming dynasty Zhuangyuan Zhao Bing-zhong in 1598 AD
Military examinees being tested on mounted archery, Qing dynasty
A military exam conducted in Joseon
Military exam pass certificate, Joseon, 16 March 1588
Examination paper written in regular script, Qing dynasty
Edict on the Transfer of the Capital written in Classical Chinese by Lý Thái Tổ in 1010
An examinee drunk in the cell, 1605
Tenjin (Michizane) Crossing to China, late 15th century by Sesshin, Muromachi period, Ink on paper
Gwageo reenactment, 2018
Invigilators seated on high chairs at a provincial exam in 1888 in northern Vietnam
Stafford Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh

The system became dominant during the Song dynasty (960–1279) and lasted for almost a millennium until its abolition in the late Qing dynasty reforms in 1905.

A map of the Western Han dynasty in 2 AD
Principalities and centrally-administered commanderies

Protectorate of the Western Regions (Tarim Basin)

Han dynasty

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Imperial dynasty of China , established by Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu.

Imperial dynasty of China , established by Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) and ruled by the House of Liu.

A map of the Western Han dynasty in 2 AD
Principalities and centrally-administered commanderies

Protectorate of the Western Regions (Tarim Basin)
Thirteen direct-controlled commanderies including the capital region (Yellow) and ten semi-autonomous kingdoms of the early periods, 195 BC
Belt Buckle with nomadic-inspired zoomorphic design, manufactured in China for the Xiongnu. Mercury-gilded bronze (a Chinese technique). North China, 3rd-2nd century BC.
Map showing the expansion of Han dynasty in the 2nd century BC
The ruins of a Han-dynasty watchtower made of rammed earth at Dunhuang, Gansu province, the eastern edge of the Silk Road.
These rammed earth ruins of a granary in Hecang Fortress, located ~11 km (7 miles) northeast of the Western-Han-era Yumen Pass, were built during the Western Han (202 BC – 9 AD) and significantly rebuilt during the Western Jin (280–316 AD).
Situation of warlords and peasant forces at the beginning of Eastern Han dynasty
Eastern Han inscriptions on a lead ingot, using barbarous Greek alphabet in the style of the Kushans, excavated in Shaanxi, 1st–2nd century AD
Preserved arrow, Western Han
A late Eastern Han (25–220 CE) Chinese tomb mural showing lively scenes of a banquet (yanyin 宴飲), dance and music (wuyue 舞樂), acrobatics (baixi 百戲), and wrestling (xiangbu 相撲), from the Dahuting Tomb, on the southern bank of the Siuhe River in Zhengzhou, Henan province (just west of Xi County)
A mural from an Eastern Han tomb at Zhucun (朱村), Luoyang, Henan province; the two figures in the foreground are playing liubo, with the playing mat between them, and the liubo game board to the side of the mat.
Brick Relief with Acrobatic Performance, Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE)
Detail of a mural showing two women wearing Hanfu silk robes, from the Dahuting Tomb of the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 CE), located in Zhengzhou, Henan
Han period inscribed bamboo-slips of Sun Bin's Art of War, unearthed in Yinque Mountain, Linyi, Shandong.
A fragment of the Xiping Stone Classics; these stone-carved Five Classics installed during Emperor Ling's reign along the roadside of the Imperial University (right outside Luoyang) were made at the instigation of Cai Yong (132–192 CE), who feared the Classics housed in the imperial library were being interpolated by University Academicians.
A silk banner from Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan province. It was draped over the coffin of Lady Dai (d. 168 BCE), wife of the Marquess Li Cang (利蒼) (d. 186 BCE), chancellor for the Kingdom of Changsha.
A part of a Daoist manuscript, ink on silk, 2nd century BCE, Han Dynasty, unearthed from Mawangdui tomb 3rd, Changsha, Hunan Province.
An Eastern-Han bronze statuette of a mythical chimera (qilin), 1st century CE
A scene of historic paragons of filial piety conversing with one another, Chinese painted artwork on a lacquered basketwork box, excavated from an Eastern-Han tomb of what was the Chinese Lelang Commandery in Korean Peninsula.
A rubbing of a Han pictorial stone showing an ancestral worship hall (cítáng 祠堂)
Animalistic guardian spirits of day and night wearing Chinese robes, Han dynasty paintings on ceramic tile; Michael Loewe writes that the hybrid of man and beast in art and religious beliefs predated the Han and remained popular during the first half of Western Han and the Eastern Han.
The Gansu Flying Horse, depicted in full gallop, bronze sculpture, h 34.5 cm. Wuwei, Gansu, China, AD 25–220
A mural showing chariots and cavalry, from the Dahuting Tomb (Chinese: 打虎亭漢墓, Pinyin: Dahuting Han mu) of the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 AD), located in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China
Gold coins of the Eastern Han dynasty
A Han-dynasty iron ji (polearm) and iron dagger
A gilded bronze oil lamp in the shape of a kneeling female servant, dated 2nd century BC, found in the tomb of Dou Wan, wife of Liu Sheng, King of Zhongshan; its sliding shutter allows for adjustments in the direction and brightness in light while it also traps smoke within the body.
An array of bronze bells, Western Han dynasty
Ornamental belt buckle, decorated with Chinese mythical creatures. Chiseled and hammered gold, late Han period.
The physical exercise chart; a painting on silk depicting the practice of Qigong Taiji; unearthed in 1973 in Hunan Province, China, from the 2nd-century BC Western Han burial site of Mawangdui, Tomb Number 3.
A pair of stone-carved que (闕) located at the temple of Mount Song in Dengfeng. (Eastern Han dynasty.)
A pair of Han period stone-carved que (闕) located at Babaoshan, Beijing.
A stone-carved pillar-gate, or que (闕), 6 m (20 ft) in total height, located at the tomb of Gao Yi in Ya'an. (Eastern Han dynasty.){{sfnp|Liu|2002|p=55}}
An Eastern-Han vaulted tomb chamber at Luoyang made of small bricks
A Han-dynasty pottery model of two men operating a winnowing machine with a crank handle and a tilt hammer used to pound grain.
A modern replica of Zhang Heng's seismometer
An early Western Han dynasty silk map found in tomb 3 of Mawangdui, depicting the Kingdom of Changsha and Kingdom of Nanyue in southern China (note: the south direction is oriented at the top).
An Eastern Han dynasty pottery boat model with a steering rudder at the stern and anchor at the bow.

The Han dynasty was a unique period in the development of premodern Chinese science and technology, comparable to the level of scientific and technological growth during the Song dynasty (960–1279).

The Tianning Pagoda, built around 1120 during the Liao dynasty.


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Capital of the People's Republic of China.

Capital of the People's Republic of China.

The Tianning Pagoda, built around 1120 during the Liao dynasty.
One of the corner towers of the Forbidden City, built by the Yongle Emperor during the early Ming dynasty
Overlapping layout of Beijing during the Liao, Jin, Yuan and Ming dynasties
Summer Palace is one of the several palatial gardens built by Qing emperors in the northwest suburb area.
Chongwenmen, a gate to the inner walled city, c. 1906
A large portrait of Chiang Kai-shek was displayed above Tiananmen after WWII.
Mao Zedong proclaiming the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949
A scene from the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Landsat 7 Satellite image of Beijing Municipality with the surrounding mountains in dark brown
1940s Nationalist Beijing with predominantly traditional architecture
The sign of Doujiao Hutong, one of the many traditional alleyways in the inner city
Beijing average annual temperatures from 1970 to 2019 during summer (June, July, and August) and winter (December, January, and February). Weather station data from ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/noaa/. For comparison the Global Surface Temperature Anomaly rose by approximately one degree over the same time period.
Heavy air pollution has resulted in widespread smog. These photographs, taken in August 2005, show the variations in Beijing's air quality.
Houhai Lake and Drum Tower at Shichahai, in the Xicheng District
Xidan is one of the oldest and busiest shopping areas in Beijing.
Beijing products treemap, 2020
The Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping arcade is a destination for locals and visitors.
The skyline of Beijing CBD
Zhongguancun is a technology hub in Haidian District
The Beijing Ancient Observatory
Qianmen Avenue, a traditional commercial street outside Qianmen Gate along the southern Central Axis
Inside the Forbidden City
Beijing Acrobatic Performance (10553642935)
A Temple of the Goddess in Gubeikou
Fire God Temple in Di'anmen
The tomb pagodas at Tanzhe Temple
Yonghe Temple of Tibetan Buddhism
Niujie Mosque
Church of the Saviour, also known as the Xishiku Church, built in 1703
The China Central Television Headquarters building in CBD
Fireworks above Olympic venues during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics
Tai chi (Taijiquan) practitioners at the Fragrant Hills Park
Beijing Workers' Stadium at night as viewed from Sanlitun
Beijing railway station, one of several rail stations in the city
Badaling Expressway overpass near the Great Wall
Typical Beijing traffic signage found at intersections
Traffic jam in the Beijing CBD
Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Daxing International Airport
Two Line 1 trains on the Beijing Subway, which is among the longest and busiest rapid transit systems in the world
An articulated Beijing bus
Bicyclists during rush hour at the Chang'an Avenue, 2009
KJ-2000 and J-10s started the flypast formation on the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

The Liao fell to the Jurchen Jin dynasty in 1122, which gave the city to the Song dynasty and then retook it in 1125 during its conquest of northern China.