Cultures of east Asia

Taylor Morgan


Many cultures blended and change during this time (550-1400 AD) in east Asia. One of the ways it was spread was by the Mongolians.

The Mongols were a nomadic group that invaded civilizations all throughout east Asia, carrying culture along the way, since they didn't really do anything they just stole others ideas and ways.   They were described as very ugly and smelly. They moved at an amazing speed up to 62 miles a day and used extreme tactics to survive.

Throughout history there are many recorded attacks of the Mongols mainly on China. The attacks were most frequent in the Song dynasty. In 1200's com forth from central Asia. They create the largest land empire in history and conquer China in the process. The originate from the steppes of the grasslands the stretch apart the north central part of Eurasia. The relied on their animals when they abandoned their farming and became a nomadic civilization

Mongolians were not a normal civilization, but was still considered one even though they didn't have any contributions to culture really. They were big in the Yan dynasty, the khan family had a leadership role in this.

Mongols were skilled archers who could sit on their horse sideways and then shoot as they were riding sideways.


Fudō Myōō (as seen above) is the most widely represented in Japan of the Esoteric Buddhist deities known as Myōō, or Kings of Brightness. Japan was wealthy and culturally inclines during this period even though the imperial court's political authority started to decline.

Japan has many unique cultural developments, like their writing. Instead of letter they used symbols like China. During this time Buddhism was introduced and spread around throughout Japan.

In 710 A.D., Empress Gemmei established her official residence in Heijyo-kyo, present day Nara city. The capital of Japan would be moved several times during the Nara period. It was custom for the capital to be moved with the beginning of each new reign because the place of death of an emperor was thought to be polluted. A constant power struggle for the throne was another reason the capital was often relocated.

Literature also devolved. As a result of the imperial court's effort to record and document its history two of the most famous works of Japanese historical literature were produced during the Nara period. Poetry also became popular along with literature and history.

The Heian period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyo, present day Kyoto, established in 794 under the authority of Emperor Kammu. The period is considered one of the high points in Japanese history, perhaps equaled only by the later Tokugawa period. It is a time known for unprecedented peace and security in Japan as well as the rise of the samurai class. It is also during this period that the Emishi, believed to be direct descendants of the Jomon, were conquered in 801 by the military commander Seii Taishogun under the authority of Emperor Kammu.

Fashion was odd during the Heian period especially for women. Members of the aristocracy behaved according to subtle rules of aesthetic refinement. For the aristocrat seeking a good reputation negotiating these rules was the primary challenge. Beauty constituted good taste, but what was considered beautiful to a Heian aristocrat might be considered ugly by a member of another culture. White teeth were considered ugly, and women were expected to blacken their teeth with dye. When a woman smiled, it might have looked like a dark oval. The custom of blackening teeth was known as o-haguro and lasted until the late 19th century. Women also plucked out their eyebrows and painted them about 2-3cm above their original location. It is likely men would have done the same to achieve the high-eyebrow look. It was also attractive for a woman to have extremely long hair, which may have been longer than her body

Here is a video that talks about the history of Japan.


China is one of the world's oldest civilized nation, which dates back to more than 10,000 years. The 5,000 years period is commonly used as the date when China became unified under a large empire. They use time periods called dynasty which is a time period where a family was in power until they were kicked out or their empire  declined and ended. 

The Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) The Han Dynasty is historically divided into the Western Han (206 BC-8 AD) and Eastern Han (25 AD-220 AD) Dynasties. The former ending in a farmer's rebellion, the authority of Western Han was carried on by Liu Xiu, one of the kinsmen of the Han royal family. His army defeated all the other warlords and rebuilt the Han ministration in Luoyang, beginning the Eastern Han Dynasty.

The Sui Dynasty happened after the end of The Period of Disunion in 589 when a northern ruler named Wendi came into power then founded the Sui Dynasty and became the first emperor. Like Dynasty's before Wendi established a central government. He created a new law code and reformed the bureaucracy, and created polices that every adult male is granted with land and grain. The greatest accomplishment was the grand canal. It was a 1000 mile water way that linked northern and southern China. It made it easier to get resources back and fourth from northern to southern parts of China. After this the reign of Yang Di started (Wendi's son). During his time he forced millions of peasants to work the grand canal as result thousands died during this labor which led to a rebellion, even though all those attempts failed Yang Di was assassinated in 618 and the short Sui dynasty came to an end.

A Sui general found power and founded the Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty ruled from 618 to 907 AD. China thrived under the Tang Dynasty and set models for others throughout Asia. Tang built a government on Sui's foundation. The established two capitals, one of them the old Sui capitol. People had to pass written test to work for the government insure it was a strong government with the best leaders. Tang created flexible laws and became a model for Japan and Korea laws. Tang expanded land and regained western lands in western China. China's contact with Japan increased and Japanese scholars came to study the culture and government. Much of this expansion was under rule of Taizong who ruled 626-649 AD. After his death one of his son's gained power, he became weak and sickly so his wife Wu Zhao gained power. When her husband died she continued to rule through her sons. The Tang dynasty began to decline in the 750's, even though the overcame a rebellion the government remained weak and unstable. Defeats lead to the lost of land to the north and central Asia. Nomadic invasaions mad ethe problem worse and when a powerful general killed the emperor in 907 the Tang Dynasty ended.

China has an unusual language like Japan using symbols. The ancient written standard was Classical Chinese, using up and down symbols . It was used for thousands of years, but was mostly used by scholars and intellectuals which forms the "top" class of the society called "shi da fu (士大夫)". It is difficult but possible foe ordinary people to become the "top" class by passing written exams. Calligraphy later became commercialized, and works by famous artists became prized possessions. Chinese literature has a long past; the earliest classic work in Chinese, the Ching or "Book of Changes" dates to around 1000 BC.

The Chinese had introduced martial arts into the world, it first started as an training for and act of warfare and combat but over time different types have branched off and developed over time.

Different social classes in different eras boast different fashion trends, the color yellow or red is usually reserved for the emperor. China's fashion history covers hundreds of years with some of the most colorful and diverse arrangements, women also wore kimonos and sandals. The clothing was viewed as very transitional.

The Han Dynasty's government used some of the same ways of the previous rulers of the Qin dynasty. The Han dynasty’s imperial government system was patterned after its predecessor, the Qin dynasty. A central control was established, meaning that the emperors had full control over all of China. In theory, the powers of the emperor were absolute and unlimited. The emperors had three councilors of state, the Chancellor over the Masses, the Imperial Counselor and the Grand Commandant. Each of the counselor’s main duty was to draft the government budget, conduct disciplinary procedures for government officials and to command and the military, respectively. There were then nine ministers, each of them assigned to head a specialized ministry.

southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is located in-between China and India two strong influences on culture and religion. China and India played and important role on the development of Southeast Asia's culture and its geography was important because of trade and weather.

In the picture above is Borobudur temple, a Buddhist monument on java built around the 800's by the rulers of the Sailendra Kingdom.

Many small kingdoms and empires arose in Southeast Asia and a few became very powerful. They blended influences from China and India to create their own unique culture (like in Korea and Japan).

The Pagan Kingdom was one of the first kingdoms to rise to power around 840's AD. The kingdom was located in the fertile Irrawaddy River valley a good place for rice farming. The first great king was Anawratha who ruled from 1044-1077 AD, he conquered much of the land around him and expanded the empire. His conquest provided the kingdom with access to trading ports which helped make the kingdom thrive. He was a supporter of Buddhism and and built thousands of Buddhist temples.

To the southeast of the Pagan Kingdom was the Khmer empire. This empire reached its peak from 850-1220 and controlled most of the mainland in southeast Asia. The Khmer was strongly influenced by Indian culture and also was Buddhist empire like the Pagan kingdom but also had some Hindu beliefs. The design of the capital city was the shape of the Hindu universe and had a temple in the center. In Angkor the Khmer rulers had many temples built and the most famous is Angkor Wat and the ruins are still there today. It was built in the 1100's and the main tower is 200 feet tall and was possibly used as a astronomical observatory. The Khmer's empire could afford this because the became well off  by rice farming. They had and irrigation system that covered millions of acres.

While most of Southeast Asia was influenced by India more than China Vietnam was influenced more by China. Vietnam was originally conquered by the Han dynasty in 111 BC and stayed under their rule. Under this rule they adapted many of the aspects of Chinese culture including the language, clothing and hairstyle. Confucianism and Daosim influenced Vietnam society. Even though China was a strong influence Vietnam still manged to keep many of their traditions and customs, like the way they worshiped the nature spirits on the side. In hopes of gaining their Independence back the often rebelled when China became weak. Only once the briefly succeeded and driving China out but shortly after China regained control again. The fall of China's Tang dynasty in the early 900's gave Vietnam the chance to win their Independence and they did in 939. In the late 1200's the mongols invaded but the Vietnamese defeated them and remained independent.

Rice farming was very popular not only in Southeast Asia but to the others too (excluding the Mongols). Rice farming was very officiant and had advanced irrigation systems that cover lots of land. It is Eco-friendly and we still use similar methods in rice farming and there are still small villages that use the exact same was in ancient times.

Nothing to do with China just needed another video and explains falls of empires.

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