Qing Dynasty

Qing Dynasty

An overview of Qing Dynasty

The Qing Dynasty was the greatest and last empire in the region in (1644–1912). Like many dynasties in china, the empire was very powerful and had long lived rulers at the beginning of the dynastic era, a period characterized with prosperity, the middle era characterized with natural calamities and rebellions and inept ruling courts in the end.

Before Qing Empire, there was dynasty that lasted for about 270 years and collapsed when rival groups carved up various sections of the empire for themselves and even fought for supremacy. Natural calamities, economic chaos and famine convinced many people that Ming had lost a Mandate of Heaven. This encouraged Jurchens and Mongols to attack and encouraged the people to rebel.

When was Qing Dynasty Created?

Qing dynasty was established by the Manchus in 1636 to designate their regime in Northeast region of China. In 1644, Beijing, the capital of China was captured by bandit leader Li Zicheng. Desperate officials of Ming Dynasty sought help from the Manchus who took advantage of the opportunity to control the city and create their own dynasty in the country.

By employing Ming form of governance, Qing made it certain that half the number of officials were Manchus. Military leaders in China who surrendered gained nobility ranks and troops were organized into the Army of the Green Standard that was garrisoned to protect against local rebellions in the country. Regular Manchus stayed at the Capital and others remained in other few selected spots.

Manchus under emperor Kangxi forced Russians out of their Fort at Alazin and in 1689; a treaty was signed with Russia demarcating the northern area of Manchurian boundary at Argun River. Dzungar Mongols for the next 40 years were defeated and the empire was further extended to include Turkistan, Dzungaria, Tibet, Outer Mongolia and Nepal.

The empire however came to an end following the death of Emperor Qianglong in 1799. It ended with a series of wars, natural disasters, rebellions, famines, invasions and many economic issues.

Trade and Commerce in the Qing dynasty

There were many activities that took place in the Empire including trade and commerce. Handicraft industries thrived. Additionally, printmaking, porcelain manufacturing and art painting prospered in the empire. Scientific philosophy methods were also developed but rulers did not manage to address issues caused by increasing population pressure and land ownership concentration.

Manchu armies deteriorated; there was widespread unrest, famine and floods that led in the Taiping in 1850-64 and Nian rebellions 1853-68. Westernization and modernization efforts were strongly opposed by conservative officials. Corruption and bureaucratic efficiency became widespread.

Afterwards, the first Opium war broke out followed by Anglo French War 1846-58 and Sino Japanese War 1894-95 and Boxer Rebellion 1900 that led in defeat of China and major concessions by Western powers.

Despite conservatism attitude in the region, Qing dynasty artist were highly innovative and individualistic. There were painting schools in the Empire and shared a common location as opposed to a single style for instance, Four Masters of Anhui.

Literature and music of Qing Dynasty

Literature at the Empire included major literary accomplishments and they resembled that of Ming period because it was mainly based on classical forms. Novels were written in vernacular in the empire including tales of adventure and romance. These were also substantially developed. Translation of foreign work into the local dialect, or Chinese however took place in mid-19th century. Most importantly, literature works were highly supported by Emperor Kangxi among others as well as the Qing court that ensured publishing of projects to histories, compendiums of literature and print encyclopedias.

Music on the other hand was characterized by notable development of the Qing dynasty’s Peking opera or jingxi over different decades at the 18th century. This was also an amalgamation of different music theatre traditions from various regions that increased instrumental accompaniment including clappers, different drums, plucked lute and cymbals significantly.

Apart from music and literature, the empire boasted of beautiful tours and sights including The Summer Palace, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven and Chengde Summer Palace.

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