Society of the Song dynasty
Chinese society during the Song dynasty was marked by political and legal reforms, a philosophical revival of Confucianism, and the development of cities. Daoism and Buddhism were the dominant religions of China in the Song era. Although certain domestic and familial duties were expected of women in Song society, they nonetheless enjoyed a wide range of social and legal rights in an otherwise patriarchal society.
About Society of the Song dynasty in brief
Chinese society during the Song dynasty was marked by political and legal reforms, a philosophical revival of Confucianism, and the development of cities into centers of trade, industry, and maritime commerce. The inhabitants of rural areas were mostly farmers, although some were also hunters, fishers, or government employees working in mines or the salt marshes. Conversely, shopkeepers, artisans, city guards, entertainers, laborers, and wealthy merchants lived in the county and provincial centers along with the Chinese gentry—a small, elite community of educated scholars and scholar-officials. Daoism and Buddhism were the dominant religions of China in the Song era, the latter deeply affecting many beliefs and principles of Neo-Confucianists throughout the dynasty. Although certain domestic and familial duties were expected of women in Song society, they nonetheless enjoyed a wide range of social and legal rights in an otherwise patriarchal society. The Song justice system was maintained by policing sheriffs, investigators, official coroners, and exam-drafted officials who became county magistrates. Song magistrates were encouraged to apply both their practical knowledge as well as the written law in making judicial decisions that would promote societal morality. Advancements in early forensic science, a greater emphasis on gathering credible evidence, and careful recording by clerks of autopsy reports and witness testimonies aided authorities in convicting criminals.
The inland Fujian city of Jiankang was also very large at this time, with a population of about 200,000. The great seaport of China, Quanzhou, was located in Fujian, and by 1200 its governor claimed that the city’s population had reached some 500,000, with the 1270 census counting 186,330 registered families. Suan, in Sichuan, also underwent a massive population growth; government records indicate a 1500% increase in the number of households from the 742 years 742 to 1208. The population of North China increased from 742,000 to 1200, with only 54,000 states that increased by 1200 to 1200 by the 1200s. By 1100, the civilian population within the city walls was 1,050,000; the army stationed there brought the total to 1.4 million. Hangzhou, the capital during the Southern Song, had more than 400,000 inhabitants during the late 12th century, primarily due to its trading position at the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, known as the lower Yangzi’s \”grain basket.’ The city of Kaifeng, which served as the capital and seat of government during the Northern Song, had some half a million residents in 1021, with another half-million living in the city’s nine designated suburbs. By the 13th century,. Hangzhou’s population soared to approximately a million people, with 186,000 registered families during the 1269 census. The city’s governor claimed the city had reached 1,120,000 and by the 14th century it had reached about 1,200,000 people.