The Yangzi River valley arose as the rice-producing center of the country. Literature moved beyond the court and capital to depict local culture, and newly emerging social spaces included the garden, temple, salon, and country villa. The growth of self-defined genteel families expanded the notion of the elite, moving it away from the traditional great Han families identified mostly by material wealth. Trailing the rebel movements that toppled the Han, the new faiths of Daoism and Buddhism altered every aspect of life, including the state, kinship structures, and the economy.
By the time China was reunited by the Sui dynasty in 589 ce, the elite had been drawn into the state order, and imperial power had assumed a more transcendent nature. The Chinese were incorporated into a new world system in which they exchanged goods and ideas with states that shared a common Buddhist religion. The centuries between the Han and the Tang thus had a profound and permanent impact on the Chinese world.
About the Author
Timothy Brook is Professor of History and Republic of China Chair at the University of British Columbia.
Table of Contents
- The Geography of North and South China
- The Rise of the Great Families
- Military Dynasticism
- Urban Transformations
- Rural Life
- China and the Outer World
- Redefining Kinship
- Daosim and Buddhism
- Dates and Dynasties
- Pronunciation Guide
What People are Saying About This
An original, useful, and very timely book, China between Empires is arguably the first single-volume comprehensive treatment for general readers of Chinese history between AD 220 and 589. Lewis writes clearly and with conviction and marshals an impressive array of evidence--historical, religious, technological, literary, and archaeological. It is a remarkable achievement, especially considering the extreme complexity of the period.
Lothar von Falkenhausen, University of California, Los Angeles