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Chinese Dynasty Guide

Sung Dynasty

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From This Period

River Landscape
River Landscape



Corridor Through the Pines
Corridor Through the Pines

See more objects from this dynasty

Sung (Pinyin: Song)

960 - 1279

Pronunciation: "soong"

Considered the third Chinese golden age, this complex dynasty was divided almost evenly into Northern (960 - 1126) and Southern (1127 - 1279) halves. The former was a tranquil time characterized by philosophical and artistic development, political centralization, and economic growth. The latter, however, was quite the opposite; brutal invaders drove the Chinese from their northern territory, forcing them to migrate south and establish a new capital city. The psychological effects of this devastating upheaval are apparent in Sung paintings; misty, ethereal landscapes reflect conflicting emotions of regret, acceptance, and longing. The variety and quality of ceramics increased dramatically, and wooden sculpture was convincingly realistic.

Video: Sung Dynasty
Curator of Asian art Robert Jacobsen takes us through China's illustrious past by focusing on each of its historical dynasties.

North Sung Dynasty MapSouth Sung Dynasty Map
Northern Sung Dynasty MapSouthern Sung Dynasty Map