Saturday 14 January 2017

Jin Dynasty of China

The Jin dynasty, distinguished as the Sima Jin and Liang Jin, was a Chinese dynasty, empire, and era traditionally dated from C.E. 265 to 420. It was founded by Sima Yan, son of Sima Zhao. It followed the Three Kingdoms period(220-280 AD), which ended with the conquest of Eastern Wu by the Jin.

Life in jin Dynasty period.

There are two main divisions in the history of the dynasty. The Western Jin (265–316 CE) was established as a successor state to Cao Wei after Sima Yan usurped the throne, and had its capital at Luoyang or Chang'an (modern Xi'an) Western Jin reunited China in 280, but fairly shortly thereafter fell into a succession crisis and civil war.

Hunping jar of the Western Jin, with Buddhist figures.

The rebels and invaders began to establish new self-proclaimed states in the Yellow River valley in 304, inaugurating the "Sixteen Kingdoms" era. These states immediately began fighting each other and the Jin Empire, leading to the second division of the dynasty, the Eastern Jin(317–420) when Sima Rui moved the capital to Jiankang (modern Nanjing).

Yellow River Valley

The Jin dynasty was founded in ad 265 by Sima Yan, posthumously known as Emperor Wu. He forced Cao Huan's abdication but permitted him to live in honor as the prince of Chenliu and buried him with imperial ceremony. There was a brief period of Chinese unity following the conquest of Eastern Wu in 280, but the state was soon weakened by corruption, political turmoil, and internal conflicts.

Celadon lion-shaped bixie, Western Jin, 265–317 CE.

Sima Yan's son Zhong, posthumously known as Emperor Hui (the "Benevolent Emperor of Jin"), was developmentally disabled. Conflict over his succession in 290 expanded into the devastating War of the Eight Princes. Afterwards, the empire was too weak to resist the uprisings and invasions of the Wu Hu(the "Five Barbarians").

The Eight Immortals

The Jin capital Luoyang was captured by Liu Cong in 311. Sima Chi, posthumously known as Emperor Huai (the "Missing Emperor of Jin"), was captured and later executed. His successor Sima Ye, posthumously known as Emperor Min (the "Suffering Emperor of Jin"), was captured at Chang'an (present-day Xi'an) in 316 and also later executed.


The remnants of the Jin court fled to the east, reestablishing their government at Jiankang within present-day Nanjing, Jiangsu. Sima Rui, the prince of Langye, was enthroned in 318, posthumously becoming known as Emperor Yuan (the "First Emperor of the Eastern Jin").

Emperor Yuan(Sima Rui)

The Emperors of Eastern Jin had limited power, owing to their dependence on the support of both local and refugee noble families (notably the Huan, Wang, and Xie) which possessed military power. Although there was a stated goal of recovering the "lost northern lands", paranoia within the royal family and a constant string of disruptions to the throne caused the loss of support among many officials. 

Celadon jar with brown spots, Eastern Jin, 317-420 CE.

The most populous region of China was southern China after the depopulation of the north and the migration of northern Chinese to southern China. Different waves of migration of aristocratic Chinese from northern China to the south at different times resulted in distinct groups of lineages, with some lineages arriving in the 300s-400s and others in the 800s-900s.

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