The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1683; the Hongwu Emperor attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire's standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy's dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world. He took great care breaking the power of the court eunuchs and unrelated magnates, enfeoffing his many sons throughout China and attempting to guide these princes through the Huang-Ming Zuxun, a set of published dynastic instructions; this failed when his teenage successor, the Jianwen Emperor, attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the Jingnan Campaign, an uprising that placed the Prince of Yan upon the throne as the Yongle Emperor in 1402.
The Yongle Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, restored the Grand Canal and the primacy of the imperial examinations in official appointments. He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa; the rise of new emperors and new factions diminished such extravagances. The imperial navy was allowed to fall into disrepair while forced labor constructed the Liaodong palisade and connected and fortified the Great Wall of China into its modern form. Wide-ranging censuses of the entire empire were conducted decennially, but the desire to avoid labor and taxes and the difficulty of storing and reviewing the enormous archives at Nanjing hampered accurate figures. Estimates for the late-Ming population vary from 160 to 200 million, but necessary revenues were squeezed out of smaller and smaller numbers of farmers as more disappeared from the official records or "donated" their lands to tax-exempt eunuchs or temples.
Haijin laws intended to protect the coasts from "Japanese" pirates instead turned many into smugglers and pirates themselves. By the 16th century, the expansion of European trade – albeit restricted to islands near Guangzhou like Macau – spread the Columbian Exchange of crops and animals into China, introducing chili peppers to Sichuan cuisine and productive corn and potatoes, which diminished famines and spurred population growth; the growth of Portuguese and Dutch trade created new demand for Chinese products and produced a massive influx of Japanese and American silver. This abundance of specie remonetized the Ming economy, whose paper money had suffered repeated hyperinflation and was no longer trusted. While traditional Confucians opposed such a prominent role for commerce and the newly rich it created, the heterodoxy introduced by Wang Yangming permitted a more accommodating attitude. Zhang Juzheng's successful reforms proved devastating when a slowdown in agriculture produced by the Little Ice Age joined changes in Japanese and Spanish policy that cut off the supply of silver now necessary for farmers to be able to pay their taxes.
Combined with crop failure and epidemic, the dynasty collapsed before the rebel leader Li Zicheng, defeated by the Manchu-led Eight Banner armies who founded the Qing dynasty. The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty ruled before the establishment of the Ming dynasty. Explanations for the demise of the Yuan include institutionalized ethnic discrimination against Han Chinese that stirred resentment and rebellion, overtaxation of areas hard-hit by inflation, massive flooding of the Yellow River as a result of the abandonment of irrigation projects. Agriculture and the economy were in shambles, rebellion broke out among the hundreds of thousands of peasants called upon to work on repairing the dykes of the Yellow River. A number of Han Chinese groups revolted, including the Red Turbans in 1351; the Red Turbans were affiliated with a Buddhist secret society. Zhu Yuanzhang was a penniless peasant and Buddhist monk who joined the Red Turbans in 1352. In 1356, Zhu's rebel force captured the city of Nanjing, which he would establish as the capital of the Ming dynasty.
With the Yuan dynasty crumbling, competing rebel groups began fighting for control of the country and thus the right to establish a new dynasty. In 1363, Zhu Yuanzhang eliminated his archrival and leader of the rebel Han faction, Chen Youliang, in the Battle of Lake Poyang, arguably the largest naval battle in history. Known for its ambitious use of fire ships, Zhu's force of 200,000 Ming sailors were able to defeat a Han rebel force over triple their size, claimed to be 650,000-strong; the victory destroyed the last opposing rebel faction, leaving Zhu Yuanzhang in uncontested control of the bountiful Yangtze River Valley and cementing his power in the south. After the dynastic head of the Red Turbans suspiciously died in 1367 while a guest of Zhu, there was no one left, remotely capable of contesting his march to the throne, he made his imperial ambitions known by sending an army toward the Yuan capital Dadu in 1368; the las
The Song dynasty was an era of Chinese history that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period; the Song came into conflict with the contemporary Liao and Western Xia dynasties in the north. It was conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty; the Song government was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money nationally and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass; the Song dynasty is divided into two distinct periods and Southern. During the Northern Song, the Song capital was in the northern city of Bianjing and the dynasty controlled most of what is now Eastern China; the Southern Song refers to the period after the Song lost control of its northern half to the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in the Jin–Song Wars.
During this time, the Song court retreated south of the Yangtze and established its capital at Lin'an. Although the Song dynasty had lost control of the traditional "birthplace of Chinese civilization" along the Yellow River, the Song economy was still strong, as the Southern Song Empire contained a large population and productive agricultural land; the Southern Song dynasty bolstered its naval strength to defend its waters and land borders and to conduct maritime missions abroad. To repel the Jin, the Mongols, the Song developed revolutionary new military technology augmented by the use of gunpowder. In 1234, the Jin dynasty was conquered by the Mongols, who took control of northern China, maintaining uneasy relations with the Southern Song. Möngke Khan, the fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, died in 1259 while besieging the mountain castle Diaoyucheng, Chongqing, his younger brother Kublai Khan was proclaimed the new Great Khan, though his claim was only recognized by the Mongols in the west.
In 1271, Kublai Khan was proclaimed the Emperor of China. After two decades of sporadic warfare, Kublai Khan's armies conquered the Song dynasty in 1279; the Mongol invasion led to a reunification under the Yuan dynasty. The population of China doubled in size during the 10th and 11th centuries; this growth was made possible by expanded rice cultivation in central and southern Song, the use of early-ripening rice from south-east and southern Asia, the production of widespread food surpluses. The Northern Song census recorded double of the Han and Tang dynasties, it is estimated that the Northern Song had a population of some 120 million people, 200 million by the time of the Ming dynasty. This dramatic increase of population fomented an economic revolution in pre-modern China; the expansion of the population, growth of cities, the emergence of a national economy led to the gradual withdrawal of the central government from direct involvement in economic affairs. The lower gentry assumed a larger role in local affairs.
Appointed officials in county and provincial centers relied upon the scholarly gentry for their services and local supervision. Social life during the Song was vibrant. Citizens gathered to view and trade precious artworks, the populace intermingled at public festivals and private clubs, cities had lively entertainment quarters; the spread of literature and knowledge was enhanced by the rapid expansion of woodblock printing and the 11th-century invention of movable-type printing. Technology, philosophy and engineering flourished over the course of the Song. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused with Buddhist ideals, emphasized a new organization of classic texts that brought out the core doctrine of Neo-Confucianism. Although the institution of the civil service examinations had existed since the Sui dynasty, it became much more prominent in the Song period; the officials who gained power by succeeding in the exams became a leading factor in the shift from a military-aristocratic elite to a bureaucratic elite.
After usurping the throne of the Later Zhou dynasty, Emperor Taizu of Song spent sixteen years conquering the rest of China, reuniting much of the territory that had once belonged to the Han and Tang empires and ending the upheaval of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. In Kaifeng, he established a strong central government over the empire; the establishment of this capital marked the start of the Northern Song period. He ensured administrative stability by promoting the civil service examination system of drafting state bureaucrats by skill and merit and promoted projects that ensured efficiency in communication throughout the empire. In one such project, cartographers created detailed maps of each province and city that were collected in a large atlas. Emperor Taizu promoted groundbreaking scientific and technological innovations by supporting such works as the astronomical clock tower designed and built by the engineer Zhang Sixun; the Song court maintained diplomatic relations with Chola India, the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt, the Kara-Khanid Khanate of Central Asia, the Goryeo kingdom in Korea, other countries that were trade partners with Japan.
Chinese records mention an embassy from the ruler of "Fu lin", Michael VII Doukas, its arrival in 1081. However, China's closest neighbouring states had the greatest impact on its domestic and foreign policy. From its
The Manchu are an ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria derives its name. They are sometimes called "red-tasseled Manchus", a reference to the ornamentation on traditional Manchu hats; the Later Jin, Qing dynasty were established and ruled by Manchus, who are descended from the Jurchen people who earlier established the Jin dynasty in China. Manchus form the largest branch of the Tungusic peoples and are distributed throughout China, forming the fourth largest ethnic group in the country, they can be found in 31 Chinese provincial regions. They form the largest minority group in China without an autonomous region. Among them, Liaoning has the largest population and Hebei, Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Beijing have over 100,000 Manchu residents. About half of the population live in one-fifth in Hebei. There are a number of Manchu autonomous counties in China, such as Xinbin, Qinglong, Yitong, Weichang, Benxi, Huanren, Fengcheng and over 300 Manchu towns and townships; the Jiu Manzhou Dang contains the earliest use of Manchu.
However, the actual etymology of the ethnic name "Manju" is debatable. According to the Qing dynasty's official historical record, the Researches on Manchu Origins, the ethnic name came from Mañjuśrī; the Qianlong Emperor supported the point of view and wrote several poems on the subject. Meng Sen, a famous scholar of the Qing dynasty, too. On the other hand, he thought the name "Manchu" was related to Li Manzhu, the chieftain of the Jianzhou Jurchens, it was just the most respectful appellation in the society of the Jianzhou Jurchens in Meng's mind. Another scholar, Chang Shan, thinks. "Man" was from the word "mangga". So Manju means "intrepid arrow". There are other hypotheses, such as Fu Sinian's "etymology of Jianzhou"; the Manchus are descended from the Jurchen people who earlier established the Jin dynasty in China, but as early as the semi-mythological chronicles of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors there is mention of the Sushen, a Tungusic people from the northern Manchurian region of northeast Asia, who paid bows and arrows as tribute to Emperor Shun and to the Zhou dynasty.
The Sushen used flint-headed wooden arrows, farmed and fished, lived in caves and trees. The cognates Sushen or Jichen again appear in the Shan Hai Jing and Book of Wei during the dynastic era referring to the Tungusic Mohe tribes of the far northeast; the Mohe practiced pig farming extensively and were sedentary, used both pig and dog skins for coats. They were predominantly farmers and grew soybeans, wheat and rice, in addition to hunting. In the 10th century AD, the term Jurchen first appeared in documents of the late Tang dynasty in reference to the state of Balhae in present-day northeastern China. Following the fall of Balhae, the Jurchens became vassals of the Khitan-led Liao dynasty; the Jurchens in the Yalu River region were tributaries of Goryeo since the reign of Wang Geon, who called upon them during the wars of the Later Three Kingdoms period, but the Jurchens switched allegiance between Liao and Goryeo multiple times, taking advantage of the tension between the two nations. In the year 1114, Wanyan Aguda established the Jin dynasty.
His brother and successor, Wanyan Wuqimai defeated the Liao dynasty. After the fall of the Liao dynasty, the Jurchens went to war with the Northern Song dynasty, captured most of northern China in the Jin–Song wars. During the Jin dynasty, the first Jurchen script came into use in the 1120s, it was derived from the Khitan script. The Jurchens were sedentary, settled farmers with advanced agriculture, they farmed grain and millet as their cereal crops, grew flax, raised oxen, pigs and horses. Their farming way of life was different from the pastoral nomadism of the Mongols and the Khitans on the steppes. In 1206, the Mongols, vassals to the Jurchens, rose in Mongolia, their leader, Genghis Khan, led Mongol troops against the Jurchens, who were defeated by Ögedei Khan in 1234. Under the Mongols' control, the Jurchens were divided into two groups and treated differently: the ones who were born and raised in North China and fluent in Chinese were considered to be Chinese, but the people who were born and raised in the Jurchen homeland without Chinese-speaking abilities were treated as Mongols politically.
From that time, the Jurchens of North China merged with the Han Chinese while those living in their homeland started to be Mongolized. They adopted Mongolian customs and the Mongolian language; as time went on, fewer and fewer Jurchens could recognize their own script. The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty was replaced by the Ming dynasty in 1368. In 1387, Ming forces defeated the Mongol commander Naghachu's resisting forces who settled in the Haixi area and began to summon the Jurchen tribes to pay tribute. At the time, some Jurchen clans were vassals to the Joseon dynasty of Korea such as Odoli and Huligai, their elites served in the Korean royal bodyguard. The Joseon Koreans tried to deal with the military threat posed by the Jurchen by using both forceful means and incentives, by launc
SOAS, University of London
SOAS University of London is a public research university in London, a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1916, SOAS is located in the heart of Bloomsbury in central London. SOAS is the world's leading institution for the study of Asia and the Middle East, it is home to the SOAS School of Law. SOAS offers around 350 undergraduate bachelor's degree combinations, more than 100 one-year master's degrees and PhD programmes in nearly every department. SOAS is ranked 4th globally in Development Studies by the 2018 QS World University Rankings. SOAS has produced several heads of states, government ministers, central bankers, Supreme Court judges, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and many other notable leaders around the world; the School of Oriental Studies was founded in 1916 at 2 Finsbury Circus, the premises of the London Institution. The school received its royal charter on 5 June 1916 and admitted its first students on 18 January 1917; the school was formally inaugurated a month on 23 February 1917 by King George V.
Among those in attendance were Earl Curzon of Kedleston Viceroy of India, other cabinet officials. The School of Oriental Studies was founded by the British state as an instrument to strengthen Britain's political and military presence in Asia and Africa, it would do so by providing instruction to colonial administrators, commercial managers and military officers, but to missionaries and teachers, in the language of that part of Asia or Africa to which each was being posted, together with an authoritative introduction to the customs, religion and history of the people whom they were to govern or among whom they would be working. The school's founding mission was to advance British scholarship and commerce in Africa and Asia and to provide London University with a rival to the Oriental schools of Berlin and Paris; the school became integral in training British administrators, colonial officials and spies for overseas postings across the British Empire. Africa was added to the school's name in 1938.
For a period in the mid-1930s, prior to moving to its current location at Thornhaugh Street, the school was located at Vandon House, Vandon Street, London SW1, with the library located at Clarence House. Its move to new premises in Bloomsbury was held up by delays in construction and the half-completed building took a hit during the Blitz in September 1940. With the onset of the Second World War, many University of London colleges were evacuated from London in 1939 and billeted on universities in the rest of the country; the School was, on the Government's advice, transferred to Cambridge. In 1940, when it became apparent that a return to London was possible, the school returned to the city and was housed for some months in eleven rooms at Broadway Court, 8 Broadway, London SW1. In 1942, the War Office joined with the school's Japanese department to help alleviate the shortage in Japanese linguists. State scholarships were offered to select grammar and public school boys to train as military translators and intelligence officers.
Lodged at Dulwich College in south London, the students became affectionately known as the Dulwich boys. Bletchley Park, the headquarters of the Government Code and Cypher School, was concerned about the slow pace of the SOAS, so they started their own Japanese-language courses at Bedford in February 1942; the courses were directed by army cryptographer, Col. John Tiltman, retired Royal Navy officer, Capt. Oswald Tuck. In recognition of SOAS's role during the war, the 1946 Scarborough Commission report recommended a major expansion in provision for the study of Asia and the school benefited from the subsequent largesse; the SOAS School of Law was established in 1947 with Professor Vesey-Fitzgerald as its first head. Growth however was curtailed by following years of economic austerity, upon Sir Cyril Philips assuming the directorship in 1956, the school was in a vulnerable state. Over his 20-year stewardship, Phillips transformed the school, raising funds and broadening the school's remit. A college of the University of London, the School's fields include Law, Social Sciences and Languages with special reference to Asia and Africa.
The SOAS Library, located in the Philips Building, is the UK's national resource for materials relating to Asia and Africa and is the largest of its kind in the world. The school has grown over the past 30 years, from fewer than 1,000 students in the 1970s to more than 6,000 students today, nearly half of them postgraduates. SOAS is partnered with the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, considered the French equivalent of SOAS. In 2011, the Privy Council approved changes to the school's charter allowing it to award degrees in its own name, following the trend set by fellow colleges the London School of Economics, University College London and King's College London. All new students registered from September 2013 will qualify for a SOAS, University of London, award. In 2012, a new visual identity for SOAS was launched to be used in print, digital media and around the campus; the SOAS tree symbol, first implemented in 1989, was redrawn and recoloured in gold, with the new symbol incorporating the leaves of ten trees, including the English Oak representing England.
Tien Gow or Tin Kau is the name of Chinese gambling games played with either a pair of dice or a set of 32 Chinese dominoes. In these games, Heaven is the top rank of the civil suit, while Nine is the top rank of the military suit; the civil suit was called the Chinese suit while the military was called the Barbarian suit but this was changed during the Qing dynasty to avoid offending the ruling Manchus. The idiosyncratic and culture-specific suit-system of these games are the conceptual origin of suits found in playing cards. Play is counter-clockwise; the ranks from highest to lowest are: Civil: Heaven. Of the 21 possible combinations, 11 are ranked in a "civil" suit and 10 are ranked in a "military" suit. After the wager is set, the banker throws the dice into a bowl; the banker automatically wins if he loses if he throws the lowest rank. For any other combination, the other players try to beat him by throwing a higher rank of the same suit. If they throw the wrong suit they get to throw again until they "follow suit".
Those that throw lower than the banker will have to pay him. According to R. C. Bell, if there is a tie, no money is exchanged; the opponents keep throwing until one gets paid by him. The player to the right of the banker becomes the next banker and starts the following round after new stakes are set. In the domino games, there are two copies of each Civil tile, they have been available in playing card format since the beginning of the 17th century. Turning Heaven and Nine is a simple two player trick-taking game of chance; the 32 dominoes are stacked in eight piles of four tiles each. The first player takes a domino from the top of a pile while the second player takes the one below it; the second player must lose it to the first player. If she manages to do so, she will lead the next trick. Game continues. Players count the red pips in their captured tiles with the loser having to pay the difference to the winner. Playing Heaven and Nine is a multi-trick game for 4 players. All tiles are distributed by the banker.
The banker leads the first trick with a single, triple, or quadruple trick and the others must play out with an equal number of tiles. Players that are unable to beat the trick discard their tiles face down; the winner leads the next trick. The player who takes the last trick or multi-trick becomes the next banker. Players who have not won any of the first seven tricks automatically lose the last trick regardless of the strength of their final tile. In double tricks, there are two additional suits and supreme: Mixed: Heaven and a Nine. In triple and quadruple tricks these are the only valid combinations: Nines. A triplet consisting of two military and one civil tiles can only be beaten by the same. There are complex rules to scoring. There is an accumulating multiplier to the loss as the game proceeds. There are bonuses for winning the last trick for different types of slams, it can be adapted to be played with a standard 52-card deck. The earliest surviving rules were written by Pan Zhiheng around 1610.
In this version and quadruple tricks were not allowed and Heavens can beat Nines and the Supreme pair. There were versions for two or three players in which some of the tiles remain undistributed, his rules are more similar to the ones used in northern China during the early 20th century than the Cantonese rules that are dominant in the present. They are very similar to another game called dominoes played in many parts of China. Bagchen is a Tibetan variation played with a double set of dominoes. In his article Chinese Origin Of Playing Cards published in 1895, Sir William Henry Wilkinson pointed out that the game of Tien Gow was invented long before Song dynasty, but was standardized in 1120: It is clear, that all, done or asked for in 1120 was an imperial decision as to which of several forms or interpretations of the game now known as T'ien-kiu was to be considered orthodox; the game and the cards must have been in existence long before. The passage from the Cheng-tzâ-t'ung runs thus: Also ya p'ai now the instruments of the game.
A common legend states that in the second year of the Hsüan-ho, in the Sung dynasty, a certain official memorialized the thr
Hangzhou romanized as Hangchow, is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang Province in East China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China for much of the last millennium; the city's West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site west of the city, is among its best-known attractions. A study conducted by PwC and China Development Research Foundation saw Hangzhou ranked first among "Chinese Cities of Opportunity". Hangzhou is considered a World City with a "Beta+" classification according to GaWC. Hangzhou is classified as a sub-provincial city and forms the core of the Hangzhou metropolitan area, the fourth-largest in China. During the 2010 Chinese census, the metropolitan area held 21.102 million people over an area of 34,585 km2. Hangzhou prefecture had a registered population of 9,018,000 in 2015. In September 2015, Hangzhou was awarded the 2022 Asian Games.
It will be the third city in China to host the Asian Games after Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010. Hangzhou, an emerging technology hub and home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba hosted the eleventh G20 summit in 2016; the celebrated neolithic culture of Hemudu is known to have inhabited Yuyao, 100 km north-east of Hangzhou, as far back as seven thousand years ago. It was during this time. Excavations have established that the jade-carving Liangzhu culture inhabited the area around the present city around five thousand years ago; the first of Hangzhou's present neighborhoods to appear in written records was Yuhang, which preserves an old Baiyue name. Hangzhou was made the seat of the prefecture of Hang in AD 589, entitling it to a city wall, constructed two years later. By a longstanding convention seen in other cities like Guangzhou and Fuzhou, the city took on the name of the area it administered and became known as Hangzhou. Hangzhou was at the southern end of China's Grand Canal; the canal evolved over centuries but reached its full length by 609.
In the Tang dynasty, Bai Juyi was appointed governor of Hangzhou. An accomplished poet, his deeds at Hangzhou have led to his being praised as a great governor, he noticed that the farmland nearby depended on the water of West Lake, but due to the negligence of previous governors, the old dyke had collapsed, the lake so dried out that the local farmers were suffering from severe drought. He ordered the construction of a stronger and taller dyke, with a dam to control the flow of water, thus providing water for irrigation and mitigating the drought problem; the livelihood of local people of Hangzhou improved over the following years. Bai Juyi used his leisure time to enjoy the West Lake, visiting it daily, he ordered the construction of a causeway connecting Broken Bridge with Solitary Hill to allow walking, instead of requiring a boat. He had willows and other trees planted along the dyke, making it a beautiful landmark; this causeway was named "Bai Causeway", in his honor. It is listed as one of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China.
It was first the capital of the Wuyue Kingdom from 907 to 978 during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Named Xifu at the time, it was one of the three great bastions of culture in southern China during the tenth century, along with Nanjing and Chengdu. Leaders of Wuyue were noted patrons of the arts of Buddhist temple architecture and artwork; the dyke built to protect the city by King Qian Liu gave the Qiantang its modern name. Hangzhou became a cosmopolitan center, drawing scholars from throughout China and conducting diplomacy with neighboring Chinese states, with Japan and the Khitan Liao dynasty. In 1089, while another renowned poet Su Shi was the city's governor, he used 200,000 workers to construct a 2.8 km long causeway across West Lake. The lake was once a lagoon tens of thousands of years ago. Silt blocked the way to the sea and the lake was formed. A drill in the lake-bed in 1975 found the sediment of the sea. Artificial preservation prevented the lake from evolving into a marshland.
The Su Causeway built by Su Shi, the Bai Causeway built by Bai Juyi, a Tang dynasty poet, once the governor of Hangzhou, were both built out of mud dredged from the lake bottom. The lake is surrounded by hills on the western sides; the Baochu Pagoda sits on the Baoshi Hill to the north of the lake. Arab merchants lived in Hangzhou during the Song dynasty, due to the fact that the oceangoing trade passages took precedence over land trade during this time. There were Arabic inscriptions from the 13th century and 14th century. During the period of the Yuan dynasty, Muslims were persecuted through the banning of their traditions, they participated in revolts against the Mongols; the Fenghuangshi mosque was constructed by an Egyptian trader. Ibn Battuta is known to have visited the city of Hangzhou in 1345. During his stay at Hangzhou, he was impressed by the large number of well-crafted and well-painted Chinese wooden ships with colored sails and silk awnings in the canals, he attended a banquet held by Qurtai, the Yuan Mongol administrator of the city, who according to Ibn Battuta, was fond of the skills of local Chinese conjurers.
Hangzhou was chosen as the new capital of the Southern Song dynasty in 1132, wh
The Asia Society is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating the world about Asia. It has several centers around the world; these centers are overseen by the Society’s headquarters in New York, which includes a museum that exhibits the Rockefeller collection of Asian art and rotating exhibits with pieces from many Asian countries including China, India and Korea. On June 10, 2013 Josette Sheeran, former Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme and Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum, became the seventh president and CEO of the institution. On October 21, 2014 Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, was named president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, the organization's think tank; the Asia Society defines the region of Asia as the area from Japan to Iran, from central Asia to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The Asia Society is a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose aim is to build awareness about Asian politics, education and culture through education.
The organization sponsors the exhibitions of art, film and programs for students and teachers. The programs are aimed at increasing knowledge of society with a focus on human rights, global health and the position of women; the Asia Society's original focus was explaining aspects about Asia to Americans, Robin Pogrebin of The New York Times said that it was "ong regarded as a New York institution with regional branches". Around 2011 the society was refocusing efforts on augmenting partnerships amongst Asians and between Asians and Americans in business, culture and public policy. In 2011 Pogrebin said "over the last few years has aimed to recast itself as an international organization through the construction of the two major centers in cities where it had only offices"; the Asia Society was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III. Established to promote greater knowledge of Asia in the US, today the Society is a global institution—with offices throughout the US and Asia—that fulfills its educational mandate through a wide range of cross-disciplinary programming.
As economies and cultures have become more interconnected, the Society's programs have expanded to address Asian American issues, the effects of globalization, pressing concerns in Asia including human rights, the status of women, environmental and global health issues such as HIV/AIDS. The organization's records are held at the Rockefeller Archive Center in North Tarrytown, NY; the Society's Manhattan headquarters, at Park Avenue and East 70th Street on the Upper East Side, is a nine-story building faced in smooth red Oklahoma granite designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes in 1980. Since it replaced some old brownstones on one of the city's most prestigious streets, Barnes gave the building a strong facade to continue the line along Park, set it back from East 70th with a terraced garden buffering it between the street and the older houses on that block; the semicircular window on the upper story and variations in the color and finish of the granite are intended to evoke Asian cultures. Paul Goldberger, architecture critic at The New York Times, called it "an ambitious building, full of civilized intentions, some of which succeed and others that do not".
In the former category he put the overall shape. In 1999, it was closed for 18 months so that new interiors, designed by Bartholomew Voorsanger, could be built. During that time the society used the former Christie's Manhattan offices on 59th Street as a temporary home; the completed renovation included a 24-foot-high cafe. The expansion doubled the museum's exhibition space, allowing the society to put the entire Rockefeller Asian art collection on display. Robin Pogrebin of The New York Times said in 2011 that the Asia Society is "perhaps best known for the elegance of its headquarters and galleries on Park Avenue at 70th Street". Along with its New York headquarters, the Asia Society has centers throughout the United States and Asia. 2012 marked a major expansion, with the opening of multimillion-dollar buildings in Hong Kong and Houston, Texas. The Hong Kong complex, dedicated on February 9, 2012, is situated on the site of a former British military explosives magazine overlooking Victoria Harbour and includes numerous restored military buildings.
The project was designed by architects Tod Billie Tsien. The Houston building, located in the city's museum district, opened on May 6, 2012 and was designed by architect Yoshio Taniguchi; the other American centers are located in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D. C. Other Asian centers are in Seoul, Manila and Mumbai. There is a center located in Sydney, Australia. At its 70th Street headquarters, The Asia Society Museum is host to both traditional and contemporary exhibitions, film screenings, literature and visual arts; the holdings include works from more than thirty Asian-Pacific countries including Hindu and Buddhist statuary, temple carvings, Chinese ceramics and paintings, Japanese art, contemporary art. The museum's collection of traditional objects stems from a donation from Asia Society founder John D. Rockefeller III and Blanchette Ferry Hooker Rockefeller, who contributed a number of items in 1978; the society began collecting contemporary Asian art with a 2007 initiative.
A major renovation was completed in 2001, doubling the size of the four public galleries and expanding space for educational programming. The headquarters houses a museum shop and café. Forbes has listed the