The Grand Canal was finished in the postclassical period (Sui-Tang-Song, 600-1200)




 Agricultural land like these rice paddies was re-distributed by the government in the Equal-Field System

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-field_system. Soon fast-ripening rice would affect Chinese economics.




The bureaucracy of merit idea meant that many took the civil service exam to try and get a job

The imperial exam was founded by the Sui in 605: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_examination

The Mongols would abolish it in the 1300s but it would return under the Ming and Qing until recent times.




The kowtow performed before the imperial Chinese court




The Khitan people use eagles to help in hunting during the Song Dynasty




China's local barbarians: Khitans, Jurchens and Manchus

Goryeo (Korea) - Khitan War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khitan_people




Jurchen armor- all three lived north of Song China: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurchen_people




Urbanization: Chang'an had 2 million people... biggest city in the world during the postclassical period





Guangzhou (Canton) had restaurants, taverns, noodle shops, tea houses, brothels, gardens, music shops and more

Li Bai's urban poems were read and played out here as a favorite form of literary engagement during the Tang-Song.




Foot binding, a sign of patriarchal society in China, mostly affected aristocratic women




Earliest written formula for gunpowder, from the 1000s AD in China:





Song wooden blocks used to print copies of text




Buddhist caves in Dunhuang: Song era Confucians like Buddhism- darma is translated as 'dao'!




Zen Buddhism is characterized by medidation, flashes of insight, but was persecuted by Daoist





Korea is in 'the middle' of the East Asian powers, China and Japan




The Bulguksa Temple in Korea completed by the Silla in 774




The Seokgatap monument at the temple




Blue Cloud and White Cloud Bridges are in the foreground, the Lotus Flower and Seven Treasures Bridges are in the background.




A scene from Lady Murasaki's Tale of the Genji




Bushido Code of the Samurai




The first capital of Japan (700s), Nara




The Todaiji temple (Buddhist) in Nara, Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_Monuments_of_Ancient_Nara




The Heian Period succeeded the Nara, and the capital was moved here, to Kyoto




The Battle of DanNoUra, in 1185, which sealed the fate for the Samurai Heike clan, who were defeated by the Genji




The interesting Heike Crab which appeared over time after the battle


Murasaki Shikibu


The Tale of the Genji

A tale of court life in old Japan. Genji is the prince involved with princely things: love affairs, political changes, family circumstances and tough choices. The novel presents a grand view of Japanese life and culture, and in Japan is considered the national epic story. The author is revered- she is thought to be an inspired writer. Her focus in the novel also, is that nothing lasts forever. It is a multi-generational novel, going through three generations of Genji's dynasty. Many people in fact consider it the world's first 'novel.'



Tale of the Heike





***Battle of Bach Dang***

Sides: Chinese vs. Vietnamese

Time: 938

Place: Haiphong, North Vietnam

Action: The province of Annam (north Vietnam) rebelled when the Tang were declining. China sent ships down the coast and up the shallow Bach Dang River, but the Vietnamese general Ngo Quyen anticipated this and had stakes put in the bed of the river so they were just covered at high tide. The Chinese passed the stakes but as the tide went out, they got suck on them because they expected to have more time. The Vietnamese struck and routed them.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Dai Viet became independent of China.


***Battle of Peshawar***

Sides: Ghaznavid Turks vs. Indians

Time: 1009

Place: Peshawar, Pakistan

Action: Mahmud of Ghazni was a Islamic ruler of Afghanistan bent on expanding to Hindu India, which he raided time and time again for 30 years, taking enormous amounts of plunder and booty. Finally a coalition was built against him by some rajputs who met him at Peshawar in the frontier area of northwest Punjab. Shock elephants were used against Mahmud, who proved the better of it, capturing some and turning them back on the Indians.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Mahmud took Punjab and Sindh, along with part of Kashmir for his Turkic dynasty. While paying tribute to the Abbasid Caliph, he kind of did his own thing out east. His mausoleum in Afghanistan still stands.


***Battle of Kawasaki***              

Sides: Genji (Minamoto) Clan vs. Abe Clan

Time: 1057

Place: Kawasaki, Dewa Province, Northern Japan

Action: The Genji, Lady Murasaki’s clan, attacked the rival Abe clan in a snowstorm and were beaten back, but then turned again under Yoshi, the most respected of all samurai, to win from behind and then capture several Abe forts. After besieging their stockade he sliced off Abe Sadato, the opposing clan leader’s head and brought it back to Kyoto.

Casualties: Abe 4,000, Minamoto unknown

Consequence: Combat was ritualized, with battles preceded by exchanges of oratory and strict rules of honorable conduct applied. Severed heads were supposed to be returned to their own side. Three years later in 1060, the Tiara clan would take power from the Genji.


***Battle of Kaifeng***

Sides: Jurchen vs. Chinese

Time: 1126

Place: Kaifeng, China

Action: The Jurchens from beyond the Great Wall invaded Song China and attacked its capital, Kaifeng on the Yellow River. The Song had a huge army and used gunpowder tipped arrows, but the city fell to a 4 months siege. The Song had to flee south.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The Song now became “the Southern Song” because they lost rule in the north to the nomads, where the Jurchen ruled as the Jin dynasty.


***Battle of Angkor***

Sides: Khmer Kingdom vs. Cham Kingdom

Time: 1177

Place: Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Action: Indonesian migrants set up the Cham Kingdom in South Vietnam and attacked the Khmer Kingdom of Angkor in Cambodia with war elephants from India. Angkor was in the middle of Annam in the north, Cham in the south, and the Thais to the west, and was in a precarious position. The regular soldier had loincloths and a spear. On the lake the Khmers under Jayavarman, son of the ruler who built Angkor Wat, defeated the Cham.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Neither side could hold victory for long, as the Thais pressed Angkor on the west, and the Cham fed them a revenge defeat in 1203.



***Battle of Uji***

Sides: Genji (Minamoto) Clan vs. Heike (Taira) Clan

Time: 1180

Place: Kyoto

Action: Twenty years passed and the Heike were still in control of Kyoto. They had executed many Genji and there was no love lost. Buddhist warrior monks joined the Genji, who supported the interests of their temples in this feudal era. With their backs to the Uji River and Heike warriors all around, the Samurai leader Minamoto Yorimasa and the warrior monks fought in single combat on the broken bridge over the river to hold the Heike back. At the Byodo-In temple, Yorimasa’s sons held off the attackers while their father snapped off a poem before committing seppuku ritual suicide. It said: “Like a fossil tree from which we gather no flower Sad has been my life Fated no fruit to produce.”

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: As an example of honorable suicide, Genji inspired later Japanese warriors.


***Battle of Kurikara***

Sides: Genji clan vs. Heike clan

Time: 1183

Place: Kyoto

Action: The Genji had struggled in the clan wars, until Kurikara. As the Heike advanced, it was clear they were stocked with lesser fighters, who spent more time robbing peasants of rice than accomplishing their objectives. They did subdue a Genji fortress, but then split their ranks. The chief rank moved to the edge of an outcropping and saw the Genji in the valley- in a mountain pass- waiting with banners high and posed to seem like they were more numerous than they were. This was the ingenious idea of Minamoto Yoshinaka, a feared samurai. The Heike held off and waited and the Genji rested from their march. Then Yoshinaka started peppering the Heike with arrows, while a contingent snuck around and behind. When it got dark the contingent attacked from the rear, and the main body tied torches to oxen and had them run out from the pass in a melee. The Heike ran and many fell from the edges of the mountain paths. Those who made it down were slaughtered.

Casualties: Heike 100k, Genji 50k

Consequence: the Genji put their man on the throne


***Battle of Awazu***

Sides: Genji clan vs. rebels

Time: 1184

Place: Tokushima Prefecture

Action: Yoshinaka became tyrannical and other samurai in his own clan went into rebellion. At Uji his own cousins broke his lines and his forces fled. At Awazu nearby, another clash occurred, interesting because his wife was fighting at his side, as well as his best friend. But they were overwhelmed and Yoshinaka was arrowed off his horse. His wife decapitated an enemy before she was killed, and the best friend, seeing all this, went seppuku in “original fashion” by plunging headfirst off his horse with his sword in his mouth. No coming back from that.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The Genji power vacuum triggered new political issues with the rival Heike clan; a showdown was not far away.


***Battle of Ichinotani***

Sides: Genji clan vs. Heike clan

Time: 1184

Place: Kobe

Action: At their fortress headquarters of Ichinotani, the Heike encamped. The Genji approached and asked for combat in ritualistic fashion by shouting out their military lineage, their noble deeds and military record. In other words, they were calling for a showdown. More ritual: they had to wait for an offer of single combat from a Heike. When one was given, a Genji detachment circled around for an ambush, which was applied, driving the Heike to the sea where their boats lay in wait. One Genji samurai’s 16-year-old son was killed, and “after soul-searching” he killed a 16-year-old Heike.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: As the Heike boats didn’t leave the sight of land the Genji followed them on the beach. Driven to despair, the Heike moved through a strait and into a new location to regroup, defeated and dejected.







***Battle of Dan-No-Ura***

Sides: Genji clan vs. Heike clan

Time: 1185

Place: Japanese Inland Sea

Action: In the straits between the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, a decisive battle would settle the samurai rivalry once and for all with a Genji victory. 500 Heike ships faced 850 Genji ships full of samurai in the largest naval battle in Asia’s history to that point. Long-range arrows started it off, then when ships clashed, hand to hand combat with swords followed. With hope lost, the last of the Heike died by suicide, including the young emperor, Antoku.

Casualties: all of the Heike

Consequence: As Carl Sagan tells us in Cosmos, the mass suicide of the Heike warriors into the sea meant that fishermen for 700 years have thrown back crabs that look like they have markings a little like a face. Through artificial selection, today “Heike Crabs” can be found at the scene of the battle, with a scowling samurai face.


***Battle of Tarain***

Sides: Ghaznavid Turks vs. Indians

Time: 1192

Place: Sindh, northwest India

Action: After Mahmud’s successes, later Turkic warlords did battle with Indian rajputs as well. Ghaznavid ruler Muhammad of Ghur used Turkic slave soldiers to invade Punjab but was repelled by Rajput Prithviraj. He returned months later to the same battlefield and focused on archery, which crippled the Indian force, captured Prithviraj and executed him.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: During the 13th century that followed, other Muslim rulers from Afghanistan continued the raiding tradition.


***Battle of Minatogua***

Sides: Emperor’s army vs. Ashikaga clan

Time: 1336

Place: Minato River, Kobe

Action: In 1331, the Hojo clan, based in Kamakura, squared off with Emperor Go-Daigo’s forces in a bid for power. They were routed with the help of another group of samurai, the Ashikaga. Now the Ashikaga clan marched on the imperial capital of Kyoto, and the emperor met them at the Minato River. His forces were beaten by land and sea and his warriors committed suicide.

Casualties: Imperial Army 2,700

Consequence: unknown


***Lam Son Uprising***

Sides: China vs. Vietnam

Time: 1426

Place: near Hanoi

Action: The Ming moved an army into Dai Viet to “settle a succession dispute.” Instead they took it as a new province. Landowner Le Loi built up a rebel force in the mountains and attacked isolated Chinese garrisons. A huge force was sent by the Ming but regular Vietnamese swelled Le Loi’s rebels, who attacked the Chinese with war elephants to scare the large cavalry force. It became a stalemate until the Chinese were worn down, and Le Loi promised safe passage out in exchange for independence.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Cooperation was achieved and Le Loi became ruler of Dai Viet.



An ancient stele containing Sanskrit writing is the only existant one dealing with the Funan Kingdom (6th century Indochina)




The Funan state was located on the Mekong River in today's Vietnam




The Srivajaya kingdom based on Sumatra (Indonesia) controlled the Indies from the 7th to the 13th centuries

It was eclipsed by Chola India but its legacy can be seen in Buddhist architecture in places like Thailand and Malaysia




The Malaccan Empire resulted from Islamic expansion to Srivajaya, this is the Sultan's residence

Zheng He's fleet stopped here as well in the early 15th century




The Angkor Wat Buddhist temple located in today's Cambodia is the centerpiece of the ancient Angkor culture

The Khmer Empire's capital, it lasted from 800-1431 before declining because of religious problems and an

inability to further control the water irrigation system (meaning floods were more frequent), as well as the Plague




The famous serene faces of Angkor Wat show Buddhist harmony with life




The Khmer Empire was rival to the Srivajaya, its religions were Hinduism, Buddhism

It covered Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam and parts of Malaysia before being reclaimed by the jungle




Post-Gupta India


Signal of Harsha's decline: Abbasid castle complex built after the conquest of the Sind at Hyderabad




Mahmud of Ghazni holding court in India after looting Punjab and destroying Hindu temples

Islamic expansion in the postclassical period went east into India and China, south to Africa (Axum) and north to Byzantium

In all, 25% of India would covert to Islam




The Delhi Sultanate kept India free from the Mongols in the 1200s but was later taken by the Afghan Moguls




A professional does a SPRITE chart for the Delhi Sultanate:





Hinduism developed energetically after the Islamic incursion into north India, and Buddhism declined in India

Here Vishnu (left) and Siva gained more roles, and cults developed around both of them, while Shankara harmonized Hinduism

and Ramanuja taught union with Vishnu was possible. Nevertheless, many lower caste people converted to Islam during the Sultanate

Guru Kabir even taught that Vishnu, Siva and Allah as the same deity, and the Bhakti movement stressed Muslim-Hindu unity




India's Chola Dynasty ruled the southern part of the subcontinent while the Delhi Sultanate ruled the north




Siva Idol at Brihadeeswara Temple




Trichanopoly as it was called by the British, is a temple complex in southern India build by the Cholas




Mystical India's tradition lives on today in the Rockfort (Ucchi Pillayar)

a temple built on an outcropping of rock 3 billion years old




The Krishna Temple built in the 1300s was the centerpiece of India's Vijayanagar (Hampi) dynasty-

the largest, wealthiest and most powerful Hindu Kingdom in southern India following the Cholas




Pampapati Temple nearby- original Hindu architecture from before the conquest by the Moghuls




Today Vijayanagar (City of Victory) is mostly a ruin




NASA recognizes India's central Deccan Plateau as one of the amazing geological landforms in the world





Indian boys having fun in the Monsoon season




During the postclassical age in the Indian Ocean, Arabic Dhows like these had to negociate the Monsoons




Calicut, India became a major hub of the Indian Ocean trade linking China and the Indies with India, Persia, Arabia and Africa

In this emporium could be found cotton textiles, refined sugar, tanned products and high carbon steel




Chinese Junks could be found on the Indian Ocean as well, carrying 1000 tons




Trade routes during the heyday of the postclassical Indian Ocean trade




Today the Indian Ocean trade is still a coveted arena of competition between world  powers!






Ancient rain and flood patterns mix with modern society to create an interesting scene,

reminding us that travelers still have to negociate the Monsoon season





With four-five billion people living along the coastlines of Asia and Africa, much trash is just thrown out into the sea

During the postclassical period, greater India had 105 million people, and today the number is 20x that figure




Much of it winds up in the middle of the Indian and Pacific Oceans in places called gyres





Sui Dynasty China Founder



Sui Emperor




Prince of Japan



Indian Ruler



Indian Ruler



Tang Dynasty Founder





Chinese Poet





Chinese Poet










Japanese Writer









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