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13 -- Part 5: States and Cultures in East Asia
One or more of the women's children would die in infancy.
If a son reached adulthood and married before the woman herself was widowed, she would be considered fortunate, for she would have always had an adult man who could take care of business for her.
When infectious diseases took a lot of people in their twenties and thirties, it was not uncommon for a woman to be widowed.
A concubine had her own way of getting to a man as a secondary spouse, back through her hold on the husband.
The children born to a concubine were considered just as much of a part of the family as the wife's children and if the wife had only heirs.
As a woman's children grew up, she began to think about marriage partners.
A woman's life became easier when she had a daughter-in-law.
At this time in their lives, many found more time for religious devotions.
They could expect their sons to look after them and make their late years comfortable.
One of the best known of the Neo-Confucian teachers, Cheng Yi, once said that it would be better for a widow to die of starvation than to lose her virtue.
The saying was used to justify pressuring widows to stay with their husbands' families and not remarry.
In Song times, widows often remarried.
During Song times, foot binding spread.
It spread to all classes in north and central China.
Women with bound feet were less mobile than women with natural feet, but only those who could afford ser vants bound their feet so tightly that walking was difficult.
The Mongols conquered China in stages, gaining much of north China by 1215, but not taking the south until the 1270s.
The north was the hardest hit.
The Jin Dynasty of the Jurchen thought they had one of the largest armies in history.
They were trated by the Mongol tactics.
The Jin would take the city back and deal with the destruction that would come from it.
The power of Jurchen collapsed under these stances.
The Song Dynasty was defeated by the Great Khan and south China was taken over by the Yuan Dynasty.
In Chinese history, non- Chinese rulers have gained control of north China, but they have not been able to control the region south of the Yangzi River.
By the 1260s, Chinese shipbuilders were put to work on building a fleet, which was crucial to his victory over the Song.
Busi ceramics were in demand outside of China and some were deprived of their land.
The innovation of decorating people still spoke Chinese, followed by Chinese white porcelain with underglaze designs in blue, was especially popular.
The social mobility of Chinese society was not desirable for the Mongols.
hereditary occupations are occupations that came with obligations to the state.
The population was divided into four grades, with the Mongols occupying the top one.
The Uighurs and Persians came next.
The Han were Chinese former subjects of the Jurchen.
The former subjects of the Song were called southerners.
The purpose of codifying ethnic differences this way was to preserve the privi leges of the Mongols.
Efforts were made to keep Chinese from marrying or taking the name of the Mongols.
They were not allowed to own weapons or congregate in public.
The Chinese were recruited into the armies and government of the Mongols.
The Chi nese would fare better if Chinese were the administrators and could shield Chinese society from the most brutal effects of Mongol rule.
Confucian scholars spent a lot of time teaching the principles of Confucian government to the rulers.
Government service, which had been central to the identity and in come of the educated elite in China, was not as widely available under the Mongols.
Half of the places in the bureaucracy were reserved for Mongols when the civil service exams were reinstituted in 1315.
Alternative ways to support themselves were used by the scholar-official elite.
People who didn't have land to live off of found work as doctors, teachers, priests, or writers.
Many took leadership roles at the local level, such as founding academies for Confucian learning.
Scholars out of office could see themselves as trustees of the Confucian tradition by asserting the importance of civil over military values.
The Mongols had an incentive to develop the economy since they wanted to extract wealth from China.
They tried to keep paper money in circulation and encouraged trade.
During their initial conquest of north China, the Grand Canal was ruined.
Chinese industries with strong foreign markets flourished.
The economic expansion of late Tang and Song times did not continue under the rule of the Jurchen and Mongols.
The combination of war, disease, and a shrinking economy led to a population decline.
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