SONG DYNASTY (960 – 1279 AD) – Part 3/6

September 28, 2010

Agricultural science during the Song Dynasty fertilized land that was not suitable for growing crops.

Then two or three annual harvests were possible leading to a green revolution, which supported the population of China to exceed one-hundred million—at that time the largest population in the world.

One scientist discovered that petroleum made better ink for writing and predicted that petroleum would be used greatly in the future.

Although China’s four greatest inventions came long before then, it wasn’t until the Song Dynasty that papermaking, the large-scale application of printing, the compass and gunpowder made their mark.

In fact, the German inventor Johannes Gutenberg wouldn’t invent his printing press until 1440 AD.

Before the Song Dynasty, the primitive compass invented centuries earlier was not accurate.

However, the compass was improved for navigation making it less likely for ships get lost at sea and allowed ships to travel farther from China.

To preserve these innovations, Shen Kuo published his Dream Pool Essays in 1088 AD, a huge encyclopedic book that covered a wide range of subjects, including literature, art, military strategy, mathematics, astronomy, meteorology, geology, geography, metallurgy, engineering, hydraulics, architecture, zoology, botany, agronomy, medicine, anthropology, archeology, etc.

Return to Song Dynasty – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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SONG DYNASTY (960 – 1279 A.D.) – Part 1/6

September 26, 2010

Fifty-three years after the Tang Dynasty collapsed, Zhao Kuangyin, a general in the latter Zhou Dynasty (951-960) led a mutiny resulting in the Song Dynasty being established in Kaifeng City, Henan Province that would survive for 319 years.

During the Song Dynasty, China experienced developments in science and technology.

For example, the four great inventions of China were developed during the Song Dynasty—paper, printing, the compass and gunpowder

The Song Dynasty is considered a great period in ancient China and a continuation of what took place during the Tang Dynasty.

A striking feature of Song politics was the way greater importance was attached to civil administration than to military arts.

Under such circumstances, education, merit, and talent were encouraged and the imperial examination system was improved.

Astronomy was also an area where advances were made.

In July 1054, an unknown nova appeared in the sky. The sudden appearance of this nova alarmed the bureau of astronomy. A year later, the star vanished.

The nova was important because astronomers discovered the Crab Nebula near Taurus and careful records were kept during the Song Dynasty that benefits science today.

By the year 1072, Shen Kuo had been appointed head of the bureau of astronomy, and he took charge of the design of astronomical instruments leading to further scientific advances in this field

See the Tang Dynasty


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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