Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)

6 Dec
The Dacheng Hall of the Temple of Confucian in Qingxu (Qingyuan Town), Taiyuan, Shanxi Province (Jin Dynasty, 1203) The Summer Palace northwest of Beijing.Constructed in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), during the succeeding reign of feudal emperors; it was extended continuously. By the time of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it had become a luxurious royal garden providing royal families with rest and entertainment. The Real Spirit Pagoda in the Famen Temple in Xi’an.
     
Architecture of the Song, Liao and Jin Period (By Wang Li Luke)

Section I

Historical Context and General Situation of Architecture

The Song dynasty (A.D.960-1279) was divided into the Northern Song and Southern Song Periods. In A.D. 960, Song Taizu Zhao Kuangyin took over the power from the Later Zhou regime and established the Northern Song dynasty. The northern Song occupied the Central Plain and the lower reaches south to the Changjiang River confronting the Liao regime and the Western Xia regime in the areas of Hebei, Shanxi, and Shaanxi. After the Northern Song was eliminated by the Jin troops in A.D.1127, the Southern Song regime was set up in the areas south to the Huaihe River continuing the confrontation against the Jin. The Song and Jin regimes had been eliminated successively by the Mongolian troops by the end of the 13th century.

In the two Song periods, the country was divided and there were little military gests to boast about as the regime was frequently threatened by the northern ethnic powers. But the Song dynasty had created an economic level higher than that of the Tang Dynasty in an much smaller territory and reached an unprecedented pinnacles in the both the cultural and scientific respects.

The politics and economics could be recognized in a certain bearing as a “transition from the medieval period to the modern times” With the decline of the gentry family politics, the political power was gradually concentrated into the hands of the emperor. Equal-field system and Zu-Yong-Tiao system were abolished and superseded by the currency rentals. With regard to the selection and promotion of bureaucrats the gentry family dominance of the Nine-Rank system (jiupin zhongzheng system) was gradually replaced by the imperial examination system. Unprecedented attention had been paid to the cultural education enterprise. This was the intrinsic drive for the cultural and scientific prosperity of the Song dynasty. In terms of the economic structure, the aristocratic magnates diminished while the medium and upper stratum riches increased greatly in number and the citizen economy started to thrive. The prevalent pursuit for luxury and pleasure had swerved the orientation of the Song architecture away from the vigorous and open majesty of the Han and Tang periods toward the sophisticated subtlety, mellow mildness and sumptuous splendor.

In the respect of the philosophic ideas, the Song dynasty was also a significant changing period in which the philosophical system of the New Confucianism known as “Li-Xue also” or “Dao-Xue”, took shape. It integrated the Buddhism and Taoism while inheriting and developing Confucianism and became “an extensively accommodating philosophical system covering the various fields such as the nature, society and individual lives. “ , and thus played a great role in the consolidation of centralized state power and promotion of multinational fusion. In such an ideological context there emerged the earliest ancient Chinese architectural codes and formal architectural drawings—–Buildings Standards (Yingzaofashi) which adopted the modulus system based on “Cai” in the design of wooden structure, the standardized modi operandi of other work types and material quanta standardization developed the Tang dynasty. With graphic illustration inserted it had formulated an official system reflecting the rather highly standardized and modularized architectural design and construction of the time.

The politics and economics could be recognized in a certain bearing as a “transition from the medieval period to the modern times” With the decline of the gentry family politics, the political power was gradually concentrated into the hands of the emperor. Equal-field system and Zu-Yong-Tiao system were abolished and superseded by the currency rentals. With regard to the selection and promotion of bureaucrats the gentry family dominance of the Nine-Rank system (jiupin zhongzheng system) was gradually replaced by the imperial examination system. Unprecedented attention had been paid to the cultural education enterprise. This was the intrinsic drive for the cultural and scientific prosperity of the Song dynasty. In terms of the economic structure, the aristocratic magnates diminished while the medium and upper stratum riches increased greatly in number and the citizen economy started to thrive. The prevalent pursuit for luxury and pleasure had swerved the orientation of the Song architecture away from the vigorous and open majesty of the Han and Tang periods toward the sophisticated subtlety, mellow mildness and sumptuous splendor.

Section I (2)

In the respect of the philosophic ideas, the Song dynasty was also a significant changing period in which the philosophical system of the New Confucianism known as “Li-Xue also” or “Dao-Xue”, took shape. It integrated the Buddhism and Taoism while inheriting and developing Confucianism and became “an extensively accommodating philosophical system covering the various fields such as the nature, society and individual lives. “ , and thus played a great role in the consolidation of centralized state power and promotion of multinational fusion. In such an ideological context there emerged the earliest ancient Chinese architectural codes and formal architectural drawings—–Buildings Standards (Yingzaofashi) which adopted the modulus system based on “Cai” in the design of wooden structure, the standardized modi operandi of other work types and material quanta standardization developed the Tang dynasty. With graphic illustration inserted it had formulated an official system reflecting the rather highly standardized and modularized architectural design and construction of the time.

After the establishment of the Northern Song regime the capital was placed at Bianliang (i.e. Kaifeng city of today) so as to facilitate availability of the economic support from the lower reaches south to the Changjiang River via the Grand Canal. Bianliang was subsequently became a commercial city with prosperous handicraft industry with booming economic activities bustling day and night. And the traditional confinement of residents and stores within the “fang” and “markets”(shi) from of old was broken while the open street-lane format city was established featuring the demolishment of fang walls, the setting up of stores and stalls along the street, and the plan of residential lanes directly connected with the main streets. This was a great change of the ancient Chinese city structure.

In the respect of architectural types, the college buildings had seen a rather great development thanks to the emphasis on the cultural education. There emerged four major colleges in the Northern Song period: the Bailudong College (on Lushan Mountain in Jiangxi), Yuelu College (in Changsha, Hunan), Songyang College (in Dengfeng, Henan), Suiyang College (in Shangqiu, Henan). At the same time, the thriving of Zen Buddhism had contributed to the secularization of the religious buildings. The ideological fusion of the Buddhism and Taoism had also been materialized in the architectural uniformity. The prevalent pursuit of pleasure and comfort had given rise to the garden construction. Having its root buried deep in the profound artistic and literary achievements, the gardens of the Song dynasty had attained very high achievements.As far as the single buildings and the group compositions were concerned great changes had taken place over this period. The longitudinal depth of the architectural groups increased and more attentions were paid to the treatment of the admitting space and the combination of the buildings and the environment. Both the plan of the single buildings and roof combinations were more varied and staggered than those of the Tang dynasty with many new subtle treatments. The varieties of fitments and colored patterns had welcomed great augmentations. From the late Tang to the Northern Song period, the indoor furniture started to rise from the lowly couches and mini-tables for people to kneel on or rest against, and become high tables and chairs on which the people could sit stretching their feet down onto the floor like the sitting stature of Pharaoh. The indoor living modes had experienced a great change ever since.

There also emerged world-advanced technologies like Planting Oysters to Consolidate the Base, and Floating Method in the field of bridge construction.

Liao( A.D.916-1125) was established by the Khitans in north China. It occupied the Northeast China, Mongolia, and the north part of the North China plain confronting the Northern Song regime. Its architecture could be regarded as the aftereffect and continuance of the north China architecture of the Tang dynasty. Its earlier buildings like the Kwan-yin Pavilion of the Dule Temple in Jixian County which was built in A.D. 984 were almost the identical with the Tang ones. The Sakyamuni pagoda of the Fogong Temple which was built in A.D. 1056 in Yingxian County was a 67 m high wooden pagoda with an octagonal plan and five stories and the highest existing ancient wooden buildings. It had an extremely sophisticated design which adopted the high-rise cylindrical structure and multi-strata modulus control system.

State Jin ( A.D. 1115-1234) which was of the same time of the Southern Song had conquered State Liao and Northern Song with force. The institutions, systems, palaces, and utensils of the Jin Dynasty were mostly under the influence of the Northern Song styles for the Liao culture was much backward than the Northern Song. As the royal family of the Jin dynasty were very dissipated without temperance, the decorations were much more heavy and elaborated while the outlines of the buildings became more gentle.

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The Jìn Dynasty (pinyin: jìn cháo; 265-420), one of the Six Dynasties, followed the Three Kingdoms period and preceded the Southern and Northern Dynasties in China. The dynasty was founded by the Sima family (pinyin: Sima). Note that there are four periods of Chinese history using the name “Jin”.

History

Western Jin Dynasty (265 – 316)
The first of the two periods, the Western Jìn Dynasty (265-316), was founded by Emperor Wu. Although providing a brief period of unity after conquering the Kingdom of Wu in AD 280, the Jìn could not contain the invasion and uprising of nomadic peoples after the devastating War of the Eight Princes. The capital was Luoyang until 311 when Emperor Huai was captured by the forces of Han Zhao. Successive reign of Emperor Min lasted four years in Chang’an until its conquest by Han Zhao in 316.

Meanwhile remnants of the Jìn court fled from the north to the south and reestablished the Jìn court at Jiankang, south-east of Luoyang and Chang’an and near modern-day Nanjing, under Prince of Longya. Prominent local families of Zhu, Gan, Lu, Gu and Zhou supported the proclamation of Prince of Langye as Emperor Yuan of the Eastern Jìn Dynasty (317-420) when the news of the fall of Chang’an reached the south. (Because the emperors of the Eastern Jìn Dynasty came from the Langye line, the rival Wu Hu states which did not recognize its legitimacy would at times refer to Jìn as “Langye.”)

Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420)Militaristic authorities and crises plagued the Eastern Jìn court throughout its 104 years of existence. It survived the rebellions of Wang Dun and Su Jun. Huan Wen died in 373 before he could usurp the throne (which he had intended to do). Battle of Fei turned out to be a victory of Jìn under a short-lived cooperation of Huan Chong, brother of Huan Wen and the Prime Minister (or Imperial Secretariat) Xie An. Huan Xuan, son of Huan Wen, usurped and changed the name of the dynasty to Chu. He was toppled by Liu Yu, who ordered the strangulation of the reinstated but retarded Emperor An. The last emperor and brother of Emperor An, Emperor Gong, was installed in 419. Abdication of Emperor Gong in 420 in favor of Liu Yu, then Emperor Wu, ushered in the Song Dynasty and the Southern Dynasties.

Meanwhile North China was ruled by the Sixteen Kingdoms, many of which were founded by the Wu Hu, the non-Han Chinese ethnicities. The conquest of the Northern Liang by the Northern Wei Dynasty in 439 ushered in the Northern Dynasties.

 

 

 

Essential Architecture-  Search by styleThree Kingdoms, Western and Eastern Jins, and Northern and Southern Dynasties Period 265 A.D.- 589 A.D.
Architecture of the Three Kingdoms, Western and Eastern Jins, and Northern and Southern Dynasties Period (By He Congrong)

I Historical and Cultural Context and General Architectural Situation

Wild battles broke out among the warlords in the end of Eastern Han dynasty. Cáo Cāo ruled the north and made Ye his base. In 220 A.D. Cáo Pi became Wei Wen Di (Civil King of Wei). Wei replaced Han dynasty. Soon afterwards Liu Bei and Sun Quan declared ascendance to the throngs subsequently. With the establishment of the dynasty titles of Han and Wu, China entered the tripartite confrontation era of the three kingdoms of Wei, Shu Han and Wu.

In 265 A.D. Sima Yan disthroned the Wei emperor to establish Jin dynasty which was called Western Jin. In 280, Western Jin eliminated Wu and united the whole country. In 304 A.D, the northern ethic minorities such as Hun, Serbi, Jie, Di and Qiang etc. invaded and dominated the central plains of China in succession, established their regimes. In 316 A.D., the Western Jin fell and its remainders withdrew to the south of Changjiang River and established Eastern Jin regime in Jiangkang (Nanjing at present). Meanwhile northern China fell into chaotic warfares waged by 16 state regimes set up mainly by the five ethnic minorities. In 439 A.D., Nothern Wei set up by Tuoba family of Serbi nationality united north China. About a century later it split up into Eastern and Western Wei, which were in turn replaced respectively by Northern Qi and Northern Zhou. These northern regimes were generally called Northern Dynasties. In 420 A.D., Liu Yu Song Wu Di (“Martial King” of Song) usurped the throne of Jin in the south. Over the following period of about one hundred and seventy years, the throne was successively seized by Qi, Liang and Chen emperors and this period was called the Southern Dynasties. Thus the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period started featuring the confrontations. This situation was continued until Sui reunited China in 589 A.D.

Han dynasty is the first climax in ancient Chinese architectural development, and Sui-Tang Period constitutes the second climax. The Three Kingdoms, Two Jins, and the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period is, herewith, a important transitory stage between these two climaxes. As the economic center had started to shift to the southeastern districts, the architecture in the southeastern areas began to flourish. The capital palaces underwent great changes. Meanwhile, the ethnic minority regimes spared no effort to become assimilated with the Han culture after they had dominated the center plain (zhongyuan) of China. This practice had contributed to the fusion and development of the various ethnic architectural cultures and boosted the advancement of the architecture of the ethnic minorities. Synchronically high seating furniture like the “Huchuang” were introduced and brought influences on the living habits and the interior space treatment for the contemporary Han people. Tuoba Hong, Xiao Wen Di (the “Filial and Civil” Emperor) of Northern Wei not only moved the capital to Luoyang and made great efforts to enforce the sinicization policy to have changed the political, economical and cultural appearances of Northern Wei considerably, but also developed the outer city of square grids outside Luoyang city introducing new concepts into Chinese capital planning and laying down the foundation for the Chang’an city construction in the Sui-Tang Period.

Another noticeable phenomenon is the development of literati gardens. The warfare, migrations, the disintegration of the country and confrontations between separatist regimes had greatly altered the philosophy on life. “Wei-Jin Xuanxue” rose while the gentry (Shizu) hated the chaotic warfare and pursue serenity and peace. Cool style in conversation and exquisite art perceptivity were sought after among the literati. The individuality and freewill as well as the transcendent gracefulness had become the indicators for the celebrities of Wei and Jin Dynasties. And the design and ideological foundation for the Chinese literati gardens were laid herewith and the paralleling highlights on the private gardens and royal gardens were formed.

Besides all these, the alien culture infusion had brought new architectural forms. Buddhism was spread to China in Eastern Han Dynasty and temples and stupa were built from time to time. The social turbulence had given rise to the wanting of security for human life and Buddhism had consequently welcomed a blossoming season becoming the main spiritual concern. When it entered the petite stability and prosperity of the Northern and Southern Dynasties, the states all went in for temples and stupa construction in a big way. For the Northern Wei it was more remarkable as the whole nation believed in Buddhism. Many temples and grottos were built which had objectively contributed to the enhancement of architectural technology and arts. Especially the construction technology of Buddhist towers saw great increase. The timber structure at last broke away from the limitations of earth-timber composite structure and developed a complete timber-frame high-rise architectural technology.

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Jin Dynasty

Culture

Jin rulers adopted a positive attitude towards the Han culture. Chinese, Khitan and Jurchen script were used simultaneously although Khitan script was later abolished to popularize Chinese calligraphy. Emperor Zhangzong became a keen collector of books written in Chinese that did much to promote cultural development. Many writers emerged during this period, including Yuan Haowen, who was especially eminent in poetry, prose and treatise. Yuan’s works represent the highest literary achievements of the Jin. The Jin Dynasty also made important contributions to the arts by inheriting characteristics from Liao architecture and absorbing elements from the Song. One of the finest examples of Jin architecture is the Lugou Bridge. Completed between 1188 and 1192 it is the oldest existing, multi-arched stone bridge in the Beijing area. The exquisite bridge sculptures and its ornamental columns demonstrate a practical application of the aesthetic principles of unity and variation that are a great attraction to this day.

Decline and Collapse of the Jin Dynasty

A peaceful yet uneasy period between the rival Jin and Southern Song dynasties was made possible when the Jin became an ally of the Western Xia. This gave the Jin a dominant position in which it was able to demand tributes from the Song. However, the Jin underestimated the growing threat from its ancient enemies, the Mongolians.

With Mongolia to the north, the Western Xia to the west and Southern Song to the south, the Jin was in an unfavorable situation. Rather than uniting with the Western Xia and Song to oppose the Mongols, the Jin foolishly attacked the Song while attempting to resist the Mongols. This move resulted in the Jin’s isolation with no possibility for assistance. To counter threats from the west and north, the Jin moved its capital from Zhongdu (Beijing city) to Bianjing (Kaifeng City, Henan Province). It sought to make gains in the south by compensating for the loss of its northern territory. Leaving the northern territory to the mercy of the Mongols the Jin began a campaign against the Southern Song with little, if any, success. In 1233, the Mongolian army led by Ogodei conquered Bianjing and the Jin emperor fled to Caizhou (Runan County, Henan Province). The following year the Mongolian army, assisted by the Song army, captured Caizhou and put an end to the Jin Dynasty.

During the Jin’s 155-year span, nine emperors had occupied the throne. At its peak, the population numbered some 44.7 million as the territory expanded from the Outer Hinggan Mountain in the north to the Huai River in the south, and from the coast in the east to Shaanxi in the west.

Conquest of the Liao and Song Dynasties

For a long period of time the Jin people were oppressed by the Khitan people. After winning a decisive victory in the battle of Hubudagang, the Jin carried out its plan to conquer the Liao. In 1120, the Jin Dynasty made an alliance with theNorthern Song(960-1127) to defeat the Liao, and in 1125 the Liao Emperor Tianzuo was captured and his dynasty collapsed. The Jin then assumed total control of Northern China.

Soon afterwards, the Jin turned against the Northern Song. Emperor Taizong (Wanyan Sheng), who was greatly encouraged by the victory over the Liao, launched a general war against the Song. Although the Song army put up a strong resistance, due to its weak court and ineffective leadership, the Jin army prevailed. In 1127, the Jin army took the capital, Kaifeng, and captured the Song emperor. Following the fall of the Northern Song, the remainder of the court fled south and established a new dynasty — theSouthern Song(1127-1279).

Soon, the newly founded Southern Song also became a target for the Jin. However, this attempt proved less successful for the Jin due to the resistance led by Yuefei, Han Shizhong and other heroes. The Jin army suffered heavy setbacks and could no longer compete with the Song. Thus, a period of coexistence between the two rival powers came into being.

Rule of the Jin Dynasty

1. Administration System

During the “tribal union” period, the premier and union chieftains (bojilie) shared the administration of various Jurchen tribes. This system was abolished following the founding of the Jin Dynasty and a committee was formed that consisted of four, followed by five chief executives who acted as the highest authorities under the emperor. The system was subject to further innovations after a number of Liao and Song territories were conquered during Emperor Taizong’s reign. While the Liao and Song administrative procedures were adopted, further reforms were introduced by Emperor Xizong and the Prince of Hailing. When Emperor Shizong came to power, a complete political system was set up. The Shangshu Department, as a primary body, helped the central government conduct state affairs.

2. Military Service System

The Jin military service system involved a combination of various components. Based on the Jurchen system, it showed its own unique character by absorbing elements from the Khitan, Bohai, Yi and Han. As well as laying emphasis on the cavalry, the Jin made efforts to establish and develop other armed forces. The troops consisted of soldiers of many nationalities — both mercenaries and conscripts and officers enjoyed high status in the country’s social strata. This system was to have great influence on the military strategies of later dynasties.

Social Economy

During the early years of the Jin, the frequent hostilities caused the economy to stagnate. In attempt to promote commercial development, Emperor Taizu adopted a policy of reducing trade barriers that included establishing a trading relationship with the Song. Soon, this had an effect on and expedited the recovery and development of commerce. Furthermore, the emperor revitalized agriculture through tax reductions and exemptions to encourage the farming community to trade with the neighboring tribes. From the reign of the Prince of Hailing to the reign of Emperor Zhangzong, the regime enjoyed economic prosperity. The flourishing economy also benefited from a monetary reform that was introduced in 1198 during the reign of Emperor Zhangzong. For the first time ever silver was used as legal tender. This marked was an important milestone in the history of currency and had a far-reaching influence on the currency system of susbsequent dynasties and even modern times.

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