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Chinese History - Jin Dynasty 金 (1115-1234)

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Jin Dynasty

period before (Five Dynasties)
-- Song Dynasty
-- Liao Dynasty
-- Xixia Empire
next period (Yuan)
When the Chinese government asked the Jin rulers for help against the Liao Empire, they did not expect that the Jurchen people would be fierce enough to be a danger for Song China herself. Offsprings of the Tungus, and ancestors of the Manchu, the Jurchen (Mongolian: Jürched, Jürchen; Chinese: Nüzhen 女真, might also be read Ruzhen) ruler Wanyan Aguda 完顏阿骨打 proclaimed himself as emperor of a Jin Dynasty in 1115. After defeiting the Liao Empire, Emperor Ukimai started to attack Song China. The capital Kaifeng (Bianjing 汴京) was occupied, the Song emperor taken as a hostage, and the government had to flee to the south where they established their southern capital at Hangzhou (Lin'an 臨安). Only in 1142, the Jin Dynasty concluded a peace treaty with the Southern Song. Like the Liao Dynasty before, the Jin emperors quickly adopted the Chinese governmental system and employed Chinese officials in their government. Similar to the Qing Dynasty later, official documents were translated Chinese to Jürjed, for which language a special script was developed. And, very similar to their forerunners in north China (the Liao Dynasty), the Jin government was slain by economical desasters at the eve of the Mongol conquest. In 1234, the Jin government fell victim to the ruthless conquest war of the mightiest nomad rule the world has ever seen. With the Jin Dynasty's fall, Southern Song China was open for the conquerors.
Like the ruling class of the Jin Empire adopted Chinese culture and customs, they also imitated the governmental structure and official documentary machinery of the neighboring Song Empire.
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(> Song)
Technology and Inventions


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g the paper on the inkened woodblock and mounting a support fabric, the text is touched upon the paper.
The earliest extant writings and pictures printed by woodblock printing are Buddhist writings, found in Turfan 土魯藩/Xinjiang and in Kyongju/Korea. The middle and later part of Tang Dynasty brought up many almanacs and calendars for private use, especially in Sichuan and the Yangtse area. Gradually, the state also adopted the new technique and had published Confucian writings, but also other official texts. During the Song Dynasty, private printing became extemely popular. Quality advanced, and the layout of the texts became standardized, resulting in the widespread Song facetype. Hand-coloured and two-colour woodblock printing came up during the Jin Dynasty in the north. But the main centres of printing were in the lower Yangtse area, Fujian and Sichuan provinces.
With the upcoming of large illustrated encyclopedias, pictures and illustrations (chatu 插圖) became an important part of printing. Hu Zhengyan 胡正言 (d. 1672) invented the water colour block printing (douban yinshua 餖版印刷) for coloured illustrations. Employing this technique, for every different colour of the picture, a separate woodblock is made. These blocks are printed sequentially.
Very important objects of Qing Dynasty private printing are the multi-colour new year pictures (nianhua 年畫).

Movable-type Printing (since the 11th cent.)

The invention of movable-type printing (huoziban yinshua 活字版印刷) as made by Bi Sheng 畢昇 (d.1052). The first moveable types were made of clay. Wang Zhen 王禎 created the first wooden movable types in 1297, metal movable types came in use during the Ming Dynasty.
The needed number of types is first determined by examining the text and the average usage of the respective characters. Engraved reverse and elevated in clay blocks, these small blocks are fired and sorted by rhyme (for rhymes, compare an excerpt the rhyme dictionary Peiwen yunfu). The types are glues upon an iron plate with pine wax and paper ashes. This glue is hardened and dissolved by exposing the iron plate to a fire. A levelling board ensures that all characters are well-leveled. Printing is then done similar to the woodblock printing. The characters can be used several times. Wang Zhen, who first made wooden types, also created a round revolving typesetting plate (paizi pan 排字盤) for faster typesetting.

Paper Money

The first paper money of China came up during the Tang Dynasty in Sichuan. The printing of paper money was, of course, managed by the central government, and the notes were callfeiqian 飛錢 "flying money", qianyin 錢引 "money vouchers", jiaozi 交子 "exchangers", or bianqian 便錢 "convenient money". Paper money experienced a great increase during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. The bad experience of paper money inflation during the late Ming Dynasty lead the Qing emperors to the decision to give up paper currency. Negotiable securities came up during the 19th century, together with the first "modern" bank notes.
The earliest trademarks in China came up during the Song Dynasty.
Art and Printing
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