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Yuan Dynasty
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Yuan Dynasty
By the mid-thirteenth century, the Mongols had subjugated north China, Korea, and the Muslim kingdoms of Central Asia and had twice penetrated Europe. With the resources of his vast empire, Kublai Khan (hū bì liè 忽必烈, 1215-94), a grandson of Genghis Khan (chéng jí sī hàn, 成吉思汗 1167?-1227) and the supreme leader of all Mongol tribes, began his drive against the Southern Song (nán sòng 南宋). Even before the extinction of the Song dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝), Kublai Khan had established the first alien dynasty to rule all China–the Yuan (yuán cháo 元朝, 1279-1368).

Kublai KhanAlthough the Mongols sought to govern China through traditional institutions, using Chinese (Han) bureaucrats, they were not up to the task. The Han were discriminated against socially and politically. All important central and regional posts were monopolized by Mongols, who also preferred employing non-Chinese from other parts of the Mongol domain–Central Asia, the Middle East, and even Europe–in those positions for which no Mongol could be found. Chinese were more often employed in non-Chinese regions of the empire.

As in other periods of alien dynastic rule of China, a rich cultural diversity developed during the Yuan dynasty. The major cultural achievements were the development of drama and the novel and the increased use of the written vernacular. The Mongols’ extensive West Asian and European contacts produced a fair amount of cultural exchange.

Western musical instruments were introduced to enrich the Chinese performing arts. From this period dates the conversion to Islam, by Muslims of Central Asia, of growing numbers of Mongol and Yuan Dynasty EmpiresChinese in the northwest and southwest. Nestorianism and Roman Catholicism also enjoyed a period of toleration. Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism) flourished, although native Taoism endured Mongol persecutions. Confucian governmental practices and examinations based on the Classics, which had fallen into disuse in north China during the period of disunity, were reinstated by the Mongols in the hope of maintaining order over Han society.

Advances were realized in the fields of travel literature, cartography and geography, and scientific education. Certain key Chinese innovations, such as printing techniques, porcelain production, playing cards, and medical literature, were introduced in Europe, while the production of thin glass and cloisonne became popular in China. The first records of travel by Westerners date from this time. The most famous traveler of the period was the Venetian Marco Polo, whose account of his trip to "Cambaluc,” the Great Khan’s capital (now Beijing), and of life there astounded the people of Europe. The Mongols undertook extensive public works. Road and water communications were reorganized and improved. To provide against possible famines, granaries were ordered built throughout the empire. The city of Beijing was rebuilt with new palace grounds that included artificial lakes, hills and mountains, and parks.

During the Yuan period, Beijing became the terminus of the Grand Canal (dà yùn hé 大运河), which was completely renovated. These commercially oriented improvements encouraged overland as well as maritime commerce throughout Asia and facilitated the first direct Chinese contacts with Europe. Chinese and Mongol travelers to the West were able to provide assistance in such areas as hydraulic engineering, while bringing back to the Middle Kingdom new scientific discoveries and architectural innovations. Contacts with the West also brought the introduction to China of a major new food crop–sorghum–along with other foreign food products and methods of preparation.

元朝

      13世纪中期,蒙古征服了古代中国北部,韩国和中亚地区的大部分穆斯林国家,并两次入侵欧洲。凭借自己帝国的丰富资源,成吉思汗(1167?-1227)的孙子-忽必烈(1215-1294),蒙古族的大统领,开始发动对南宋的进攻。在宋朝正式灭亡前,忽必烈就首次建立起另一个政权-元(1279-1368),来统治整个中国。

      虽然蒙古试图沿用中原文化来统治整个中国,任用汉族的官员,但是也没达到他们的目的。汉族在社会和政治中都受到歧视。所有重要的中央和地方的职位都被蒙古人占据,他们也喜欢聘用一些从中亚,中东,甚至是非洲来的异国人担任官员,而这些职位中没有一个是蒙古人。汉族也更多的被派往异域去任职。

      和其它异族统治中国的其他时期一样,在元朝期间,文化多元化得到了发展。主要的文化成就是戏曲及长篇小说都得到了发展,书面语也得到了广泛的应用。蒙古和中亚及欧洲接壤,从而使双方的文化得到了相当广泛的交流。西方的乐器被引进来丰富中国的表演艺术。从这个时期开始,由中亚地区的穆斯林传入的伊斯兰教开始盛行,西北和西南地区的汉族越来越多。景教和罗马天主教享受了一段时期的繁华。喇嘛教空前兴盛,但是土生土长的道教却受到了蒙古人的封杀。

      儒家政治实践和考核是建立在古典基础上的,它在中国分裂时期的北方地区渐渐被疏于使用,而蒙古人为了维持汉朝的统治秩序,又恢复了它的使用。旅游文献,绘图法,地理学和科学教育的重要性被提上日程。一些重要的中国发明,如印刷术,制瓷术,纸牌和医学文献被引进欧洲。与此同时,轻玻璃和瓷器制品在中国开始流行。
      
      第一份由外国人写的游记是从这个时期开始的。这个时期最有名的游客是马可波罗,他记录了他到达元朝的首都“大都(现在的北京)”的过程及在这里的生活,让欧洲人都为之向往。蒙古了承担了大量了社会工作。道路和水利都得到了休整和改善。为了抵御饥荒,政府下令在帝国境内修建谷仓。北京城被重新修葺了,宫殿也翻新了,有了人工湖,假山和公元。在元朝统治时期,北京成为重新开凿后的大运河的终点。这些商业动向的改善,推动了整个亚洲地区陆上及海上贸易的发展,同时,也便利了中国人首次与欧洲交往的尝试。到西方去的汉族和蒙古族,提供了水利工程援助,同时也带回去了新的科学发明和建筑创新。与西方的交流,也为中国引进了一种新的事物品种-高粱,同时还有一些其他的外国食品和加工方法。

Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2010 08:28
 

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