Worse, some of the local elites and provincial administrators in southern China were colluding with the bandits, smugglers and even religious leaders to take over entire towns. Against that radical new direction of the native Chinese in pictorial art, there was a conservative revival of Buddhist art (painting and sculpture), which was sponsored by the Mongols as part of their effort to establish authority over the Chinese. At least traditional religions were permitted to continue as long as they did not threaten the state, although Buddhism was generally favoured over the traditional Chinese Confucianism. The vast size of the empire resulted in more-extensive foreign trade and foreign intercourse than at any other time before the modern period. Of special merit was the first appearance of blue-and-white ware—consisting of white porcelain with blue underglaze—which was to become so popular in later periods and among Western collectors. Artisans and craftworkers were given a more elevated status than previously and given tax exemptions. By the mid-14th century CE, the Yuan rulers had been beset by a devastating combination of unusually cold winters, famines, plagues, and flooding of the Yellow River which all combined to bring hyper-inflation when the government tried to solve the problems of a damaged infrastructure by printing too much paper money. Like Japan, Southeast Asia was attacked in various land and naval campaigns but they also proved an elusive prize with invasions of Vietnam (1281 and 1286 CE), Burma (1277 and 1287 CE), and Java (1292 CE) achieving only limited success but at least gaining regular tribute from the Pagan kingdom in Burma and the Champa and Dai Viet kingdoms of Vietnam. Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 29 October 2019 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Between c. 1275 and 1292 CE Marco served Kublai Khan, seemingly in the capacity of a roving ambassador/reporter on the more remote parts of the Mongol Empire. This rivalry sometimes broke out into violence with one emperor being assassinated and another thrown out following a coup. (yo͞o-än′, yü-) A Chinese dynasty (1279-1368) established by the Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan with its capital at present-day Beijing. By securing in 1209 the allegiance of the Tangut state of…, The Mongols were ferocious fighters but inept administrators. Due to the open policy implemented by the Yuan rulers, a great many advanced science and technology innovations were introduced to China. Etymology: From 元. Yuan (ProperNoun) The imperial dynasty of China from 1279 to 1368. Yuan Dynasty The Yuan Dynasty was the empire established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan, after he conquered Southern Song dynasties in China. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. The final consolidation came under Genghis’s grandson Kublai Khan (reigned 1260–94). In the previous ages of the Tang (618–907) and Song (960–1279) dynasties, art had been encouraged by the state. Yuan definition, a copper coin of the Republic of China, equal to 100 cents; dollar. Later,…. Kublai ensured that Mongols always gained an advantage in China by officially classing them as superior in rank to Chinese. Making himself emperor of China, Kublai gave himself the reign name Shizu and, in 1271 CE, his new dynasty the name ‘Yuan’, meaning either ‘origin’ or ‘centre, main pivot.’ The start date of the Yuan Dynasty is variously put at 1260 CE (Mongke’s campaign), 1271 CE (first official use of the ‘Yuan’ dynasty title), 1276 CE (deathof the last Song emperor and fall of the Song capital) or 1279 CE (final extinguishing of Song resistance). "Yuan Dynasty."  Yuan Dynasty. The Yuan (Mongol) Empire (c. 1300), showing the extent reached under Kublai Khan. The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Zhu replaced the Red Turban’s traditional policy aim of reinstating the old Song Dynasty with his own personal ambitions to rule and gained wider support by ditching the anti-Confucian policies which had alienated the Chinese educated classes. The Yuan dynasty is considered both a successor to the Mongol Empire and an imperial Chinese dynasty. Genghis began encroaching on the Jin dynasty in northern China in 1211 and finally took the Jin capital of Yanjing (or Daxing; present-day Beijing) in 1215. See more. Chinese textiles, chinaware, lacquerware, and other items were exported. Most importantly of all, they failed to quash numerous rebellions, including that perpetrated by a group known as the Red Turban Movement, an offshoot of the Buddhist White Lotus Movement, led by a peasant called Zhu Yuanzhang (1328-1398 CE). Books The Mongol police force, the tutqaul, was given the task of ensuring roads were kept free from bandits, and western Asians, particularly Muslims, were often given roles in the financial side of government such as finance ministers and tax inspectors. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. Kublai, then, embarked on a series of campaigns to bring China’s neighbours back to their former position of subservience to the emperor. It was used in the imperial court until the end of the Yuan Dynasty. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The Yuan dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan. 1. 2. A new kind of literature form called Yuan drama was rather prosperous during that period. Yuan dynasty - the imperial dynasty of China from 1279 to 1368. The Mongols were helped by many Song generals defecting or surrendering their armies, and the fact the imperial court was beset by infighting between the child emperor’s advisors. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In other parts of Asia, to the west, there was relative peace, the so-called Pax Mongolica, although there was a major rebellion in Tibet in the early 1290s CE, and the other descendants of Genghis Khan, especially the Ogedeids, continued to nibble at China’s western borders. Distrustful of the Chinese, they enlisted the services of many nationalities and employed non-Chinese aliens. Mongol dynasty, Yuan. Merchants were encouraged to use paper money, currency exchanges were better regulated, and more roads, canals (including the Grand Canal connecting southern and northern China), and use of ocean-going ships aided the transport of goods. Dramatists—including at least a dozen prominent Sinicized Mongols—wrote romantic plays of four or five acts in vernacular, with several songs in each act. Kublai was succeeded by his grandson Temur Oljeitu as Khan and emperor of China (r. 1295-1308 CE) who, continuing with the same institutions and many of the same officials appointed by his father, enjoyed a peaceful and successful reign. Yuan dynasty, Wade-Giles romanization Yüan, also called Mongol dynasty, dynasty established by Mongol nomads that ruled portions and eventually all of China from the early 13th century to 1368. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. In addition, many southern Chinese, especially the intellectual class, clung on to their traditions, some even refusing to acknowledge the very existence of their Mongol masters and retiring to pursue the arts. It seemed that conducting naval warfare overseas and the unfamiliar climate of Southeast Asia were insurmountable obstacles to Yuan expansion. Yuan dynasty: 1 n the imperial dynasty of China from 1279 to 1368 Synonyms: Mongol dynasty , Yuan Type of: dynasty a sequence of powerful leaders in the same family The next important transformation of steppe life occurred when nomad peoples began to supplement their age-old tribal organization by borrowing Chinese bureaucratic principles for the management of armed forces. A number of books were ordered by the Emperor using the script and there were several cultural events sponsored by the Emperor that emphasized poetry and painting during this period of time. Related Content 4. In Mongolian, Dai Ön (Middle Mongoltransliteration of Chinese "Dà Yuán") was … Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. 1. Yuan: 1 n the imperial dynasty of China from 1279 to 1368 Synonyms: Mongol dynasty , Yuan dynasty Type of: dynasty a sequence of powerful leaders in the same family 1279 CE was the first time that China had been unified since the 9th century CE. To facilitate the employment of these aliens, the civil service examinations were suspended for a number of years. The social structure between the Yuan and the Chinese was always contentious, based on an 'us and them' mentality, that played a large role in the brevity of the Yuan Dynasty. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Artists such as Zhao Mengfu and the Four Masters of the Yuan dynasty (Huang Gongwang, Ni Zan, Wang Meng, and Wu Zhen) thus firmly fixed the ideal of “literati painting” (wenrenhua), which valued erudition and personal expression above elegant surface or mere representation. The Yuan Dynasty. Cartwright, M. (2019, October 29). Notice that since Yuan Dynasty as part of Mongol Empire was also an ethnically and religiously diverse country, its clothing was of various kinds, as well. "Yuan Dynasty." The Yuan Dynasty was amazing for its size, humble beginnings, paper money, largest armadas, technology, monumental over-spending, and huge natural disasters. Kublai Khan was particularly interested in re-establishing the Chinese tribute system which had been neglected during the latter part of the Song’s reign. The new law code introduced in 1270 CE, however, had only 135 capital crimes, half of those in the code used by the Song. Yuan was the first dynasty to make Beijing (called Dadu by the Yuan) its capital, moving it there from Karakorum (now in Mongolia) in 1267. by Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright). His descriptions are amongst our best sources for the Yuan Dynasty and the emperor, in particular. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Kublai's empire was the first to use paper money as the main currency. The Yuan Dynasty was established by the Mongols and ruled China from 1271 to 1368 CE. In 1271, Kublai Khan imposed the name Great Yuan (Chinese: 大元; pinyin: Dà Yuán; Wade–Giles: Ta-Yüan), establishing the Yuan dynasty. 5. Cartwright, Mark. Mongol suzerainty eventually also stretched throughout most of Asia and eastern Europe, though the Yuan emperors were rarely able to exercise much control over their more distant possessions. In 1268 CE Kublai Khan focussed on finally knocking out the Song Dynasty and establishing himself, as all nomadic leaders before him had dreamed of, as the emperor of China. Map of Yuan Dynasty Chinaby Arab Hafez (Public Domain). Yuan China was disintegrating from within. Cite This Work We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Ancient History Encyclopedia, 29 Oct 2019. Alone amongst the many rebel leaders of the period, Zhu understood that to establish a stable government he needed administrators not just warriors out for loot. Yuan dynasty, Wade-Giles romanization Yüan, also called Mongol dynasty, dynasty established by Mongol nomads that ruled portions and eventually all of China from the early 13th century to 1368. Yuan Dynasty Bank Note & Plateby PHGCOM (CC BY-SA). Click card to see definition Dynasty in China set up by the Mongols under the leadership of Kublai Khan, replaced the Song (1279-1368) -change to bureaucracy to the "best of best" get the job; tried to keep Chinese from having any political power The emergence of the Mongol dynasty dates to 1206, when Genghis Khan was able to unify under his leadership all Mongols in the vast steppe lands north of China. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Differences in treatment included northern Chinese being taxed by household while southern Chinese had to pay according to the area of land they owned. the imperial dynasty of China (1279-1368) established by Kubilai Khan; During this dynasty, the Silk Road became safer for travelers because it was monitered by patrols. The Mongol dynasty, which had been renamed the Yuan in 1271, proceeded to set up a Chinese-style administration that featured a centralized bureaucracy, political subdivisions, and a rationalized taxation system. Thesaurus AntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: Switch to new thesaurus. Detail of a statue of Genghis Khan, near Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator), Mongolia. Although the Mongols had ruled territories, which included today's northern China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style. Under Yuan rule the regional music drama that had gone two separate ways during the Song dynasty was intermixed as yuanqu, or “Yuan drama.” Popular song styles became freer than before, and several forms of dancing and acrobatics were added to popular entertainment. The peoples of the Mongol Empire (1206-1368 CE) were nomadic, and... Zhu Yuanzhang, leader of the rebel Red Turbans Movement and future Ming. There was also an emphasis on stark and simple forms (e.g., bamboo or rocks) and on calligraphy, often with long complementary inscriptions on the paintings themselves. Nevertheless, the Mongols as a group, by forging an empire from the Black Sea to the Korean peninsula (even if it was now split into large khanates ruled by Genghis Khan’s descendants) had managed to expose China to a wider world. Updates? The administrative centrality of the Yuan was continued by the succeeding Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911/12) dynasties, giving those later Chinese governments a more authoritarian structure than that of previous Chinese dynasties. he Yuan dynasty was the khanate ruled by the successors of Möngke Khan after the division of the Mongol Empire. Kublai abolished the civil service examinations which would have favoured Chinese officials with their Confucian education (they were reinstated in 1313 CE but Mongols still received advantages). Octagonal Ping vase, blue-and-white porcelain, from Baoding, Yuan (Mongol) dynasty, China. Such experiments first appeared among rising states in northern…, Genghis Khan rose to supremacy over the Mongol tribes in the steppe in 1206, and within a few years he attempted to conquer northern China. License. Unlike other rulers of China, the Mongols were never totally Sinicized, which proved to be an important factor in their downfall. yuan definition at Chinese.Yabla.com, a free online dictionary with English, Mandarin Chinese, Pinyin, Strokes & Audio. Invented just outside the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty, this script was used to create unification in the systems of writing for both the Chinese and the Mongolian languages. HSK. The Yuan Dynasty was the ethnic-Mongolian dynasty that ruled China from 1279 to 1368 and founded in 1271 by Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. Groups of loyalists fought on for three more years, installing two more young emperors in the process (Duanzong and Dibing), but the Mongols swept all before them. There was also the matter that Mongol rulers legitimised their position through conquest and the distribution of booty to their followers to ensure loyalty and continued service. Thank you! © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc. The Yuan empire was founded by an illiterate nomad named Genghis Khan. 3. Last modified October 29, 2019. The Yuan Dynasty (Chinese: 元 朝, p Yuán Cháo; Mongolian: Их Юань улс ) was the branch of Mongol Borjigin dynasty established by Kublai Khan. Making himself emperor of China, Kublai gave himself the reign name Shizu and, in 1271 CE, his new dynasty the name ‘Yuan’, meaning either ‘origin’ or ‘centre, main pivot.’ The start date of the Yuan Dynasty is variously put at 1260 CE (Mongke’s campaign), 1271 CE (first official use of the ‘Yuan’ dynasty title), 1276 CE (death of the last Song emperor and fall of the Song capital) or 1279 CE (final extinguishing of Song resistance). Beginning with Kublai, Mongol rulers made some superficial attempts to appeal to their new Chinese subjects by adopting such traditions as emperor’s robes, travelling in a sedan chair and surrounding themselves with Confucian advisors. Those painters sought in their art a return to what they viewed as more ideal times, especially the Tang and Bei (Northern) Song periods. The Yuan rebuilt the Grand Canal and put the roads and postal stations in good order, and their rule coincided with new cultural achievements including the development of the novel as a literary form. I’ll focus on its most common styles here instead. Trade also brought a greater exchange of ideas and technologies such as Persian expertise in astronomical observations, maps, luxury textile weaving, and irrigation coming to China, and gunpowder weapons, printing, the mariner’s compass, and paper money to the west. Kublai never gave up on Japan, though, and continued to send unsuccessful diplomatic missions to persuade the country to join the Chinese tribute system. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Revolts in the mid-14th century led to the final overthrow of the Yuan in 1368, making it the shortest-lived major dynasty of China. Ink Painting of Groom & Horseby Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright). The Song royals were taken prisoner to Kublai’s new capital at Beijing (Daidu). Look it up now! Intermarriage was discouraged. Zhu was left the most powerful leader in China, and, after taking Beijing, the last Yuan emperor of a unified China, Toghon Temur (r. 1333-1368 CE), fled to Mongolia and the old, now largely abandoned capital Karakorum. Zhu Yuanzhang’s first major coup had been the capture of Nanjing in 1356 CE. Zhu’s successes continued, and he defeated his two main rival rebel leaders and their armies, first Chen Youliang at the battle of Poyang Lake (1363 CE) and then Zhang Shicheng in 1367 CE. There followed widespread banditry and uprisings by an overtaxed peasantry. Web. The Yuan Dynasty was preceded by the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1279 and followed by the Ming which lasted from 1368 to 1644. The Mongol regional official known as the jarquchi was appointed to Chinese territories, and these and representatives of the various Mongol clans made up a local government for each province. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. While there was peace in the western part of the Mongol Empire, Kublai launched two unsuccessful invasions of Japan and several others elsewhere in South East Asia. Their first emperor was Kublai Khan (r. 1260-1279 CE) who finally defeated the Song Dynasty which had reigned in China since 960 CE. Omissions? This was especially so in regard to the west with contacts through Persia and, thanks to missionaries, ambassadors, and travellers like Marco Polo (1254-1324 CE), Europe. The real power, though, remained in Mongol hands as key administrative positions in the newly created 12 semi-autonomous provinces that China and northern Korea (annexed in 1270 CE) was now divided into largely went to Mongols, especially to members of the very large Mongol imperial bodyguard. Poetry emphasized sanqu (“nondramatic songs”), and vernacular fiction grew in popularity. Another significance of the Yuan Dynasty was the outstanding achievements in the natural sciences and technology. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Japan was twice invaded (1274 and 1281 CE), but each time staunch resistance and fortuitous storms, the kamikaze or ‘divine winds’, forced a retreat. Equipped with an army of over 1,000,000 men, a large naval fleet, and immense wealth, Song China would prove a stubborn opponent to the otherwise invincible Mongol military machine. Of more concrete benefit to the Mongols and Chinese than world fame, the Yuan did promote international trade, too. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The Yuan rulers had not helped themselves by squabbling over power, creating an overblown bureaucracy, and wasting revenue and land resources on a few favoured princes and generals. The effect of these policies was to create a boom in crafts and trade, especially of silk and fine porcelain, the latter product now being supervised by a specific government agency, paving the way for the later Ming potters to gain worldwide fame of their own. Noun. Yuan definition is - the basic monetary unit of the People's Republic of China. The traditional Han ethnic people stayed at the bottom among the four-class system during the reign of the Mongols. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Yuan-dynasty. Little known fact: China was not always ruled by the Chinese. They imported horses, camels, rugs, medicines, and spices. Yuan definition: The yuan is the unit of money that is used in the People's Republic of China. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Cartwright, Mark. On his return home, Marco wrote of his experiences in his book The Travels of Marco Polo, first circulated c. 1298 CE. Islam also spread further to the east as merchants crisscrossed Asia. ... Dadu, capital of China during the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368), modern day Beijing . Rather than being a solely racially-motivated policy, though, Kublai and his successors were most concerned with controlling their subjects, making it easier to identify who was who and ensuring there were no rebellions; Chinese were forbidden to carry weapons and congregate in public, for example. In official Chinese histories, the Yuan dynasty bore the Mandate of Heaven. Finally, on 19 March 1279 CE a great naval battle was won at Yaishan near modern-day Macao; the Mongol conquest of China was complete. Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. Ultimately, the empress dowager and her young son Emperor Gongzong (r. 1274-5 CE) surrendered along with their capital Lin’an on 28 March 1276 CE. There then followed a long line of short-reigning rulers who struggled to balance the competing pro-Chinese and pro-Mongol traditionalists that divided the government at all levels. Nevertheless, the achievements in literature and art of this dynasty were no less than the previous dynasties. The Mongols' reign in China was finally ended due to a lethal cocktail of endless infighting amongst their leaders, inept and corrupt government which overspent and overtaxed, floods and famines. The famous Italian traveler, Marco Polo, visited China during the Yuan D… 1) The Yuan Empire was founded by an illiterate nomad named Genghis Khan. There were other measures of segregation, too, such as forbidding Chinese to take Mongol names, wear Mongol clothes or learn the Mongol language. The success of Mongol warfare across Asia had been based on fast cavalry, but the Song countered this by deliberately adopting a strategy of more static warfare and building great fortifications at key cities and river crossings. These 10 top facts draw out the highlights. Although many Chinese officials continued to work as before, they were subject to random and secret inspections by Mongol-trusted censors. They continued to maintain their separateness from the native population and utilized foreigners, such as the European traveler Marco Polo, to staff the government bureaucracy. "Dà Yuán" (大元) is from the clause "大哉乾元" (pinyin: dà zāi Qián Yuán; lit. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Kublai ensured that Mongols always gained an advantage in China by officially classing them as superior in rank to Chinese. The Mongols' own preference for shamanism showed no signs of change, although Kublai himself converted to Tibetan (Lamaist) Buddhism. Although the Mongols had ruled territories such as today's northern China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style. Merchants, not being producers but ‘exchangers,’ had been discriminated against under the Song, and these, too, now benefitted from more favourable tax measures, low-cost loans and the end of sumptuary regulations. The system had states pay symbolic and material tribute to China’s dominant position as the centre of the known world, the ‘Middle Kingdom.’ Not only was it a means to further legitimise his position as Chinese emperor but it could also bring in useful material goods and help expand international trade. For this reason, it would take eleven long years for Kublai to pick off his targets one by one and finally batter the Song into submission. It was the first time that country had been unified since the 9th century CE, not that this was much consolation to the countless dead, robbed and displaced across China. The overland trade to Central Asia, the Middle East, and Persia was primarily dominated by Muslim merchants. Beginning with Kublai, Mongol rulers made some superficial attempts to appeal to the… Punishments were a particularly striking area of difference with, for example, a Mongol found guilty of murder only having to pay a fine while a southern Chinese convicted of mere theft was fined and then tattooed as a criminal. The Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) saw the consolidation of poetry, painting, and calligraphy into a unified canon of classical Chinese art. It was superseded by the Ming dynasty. Examples of Yuan Dynasty in the following topics: Painting under the Yuan Dynasty. Further, despite the obvious discrimination, southerners kept their classical Chinese culture very much alive through private meetings and the arts, often producing paintings, poetry and plays which conveyed within them subtle protests against the Yuan regime. The new literary genre attracted many men of letters, as well as large audiences. Etymology: From 元. For the next six decades the Mongols continued to extend their control over the north and then turned their attention to southern China, which they completed conquering with the defeat of the Nan (Southern) Song dynasty in 1279. https://www.ancient.eu/Yuan_Dynasty/. Wiktionary (0.00 / 0 votes) Rate this definition: yuan (Noun) The basic unit of money in China. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Mongol Empire Under Kublai Khanby Arienne King (CC BY-NC-SA). Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Yuan_Dynasty/. In addition to a renewed emphasis on traditional craft arts (silver, lacquer, and other materials), there were important developments in ceramics. dynasty - a sequence of powerful leaders in the same family. 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