Jin dynasty (265–420)

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Not to be confused with the Jurched Jin () dynasty that ruled northern China (1115–1234) or with other Jin dynasties of Chinese and Korean history.
Jin dynasty
晉朝

 

265–420
 

The Jin Empire (yellow), c. 280
(Western Jin)
Capital Luoyang (265–311)
Chang'an (312–316)
Jiankang (317–420)
Languages Old Chinese
Religion Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion
Government Monarchy
Emperor
 •  AD 265–290 Emperor Wu of Jin
 •  419–420 Emperor Gong of Jin
History
 •  Establishment 265
 •  Reunification of China under Jin rule 280
 •  Jin evacuates to region south of the Huai River, Eastern Jin begins 317
 •  Abdication to Liu Song 420
Population
 •  300 est. 35,000,000 
Currency Chinese coin, Cash
Today part of China (PRC), Vietnam, Mongolia
Jin dynasty
Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove.jpg
Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, a tomb painting from Jiankang (Nanjing) now located in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum.
Traditional Chinese 晉朝
Simplified Chinese 晋朝
Sima Jin
Traditional Chinese 司馬
Simplified Chinese 司马
Liang Jin
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaning Two Jins
Western Jin
Traditional Chinese 西晉
Simplified Chinese 西晋
Eastern Jin
China400ce.png
The Jin Empire (yellow), c. 400
(Eastern Jin)
Traditional Chinese 東晉
Simplified Chinese 东晋

The Jin dynasty, distinguished as the Sima Jin and Liang Jin, was a Chinese dynasty, empire, and era traditionally dated from AD 265 to 420. It was founded by Sima Yan, son of Sima Zhao who was created Prince of Jin and posthumously declared the founder of the dynasty.

There are two main divisions in the history of the dynasty: the Western Jin (265–316) when the capital was located at Luoyang or Chang'an (modern Xi'an) and the Eastern Jin (317–420) when it was relocated to Jiankang (modern Nanjing). Sima Rui was forced to relocated to Jiankang owing to civil wars and invasion from the Five Barbarians of the north and west. The Eastern Jin was eventually overthrown by the Liu Song.

History[edit]

Molded-brick mural, identified as the "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi", one of two walls apart of the coffin found in a tomb of the capital region of the Southern dynasties (5th-6th. c.), second half of the fifth century, at Xishanqiao, near Nanjing. 88 x 240 cm. Nanjing Museum. This part of the murals may reflect a composition of the famous Lu Tanwei, considered as the single greatest painter of all times by the Chinese critic Xi He (act. 500-536) : ref. from China : Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Press 2004. We can recognize Ji Kang (223-262), on the left, under a gingko tree.
Hunping jar of the Western Jin, with Buddhist figures.

Under the Wei, who emerged victorious from China's Three Kingdoms period, the Sima clan rose to prominence, particularly after the 249 coup d'état at the Gaoping Tombs. Sima Zhao assisted the throne in suppressing other rebellions, recovering Shu and capturing Liu Shan in 263 and opposing Zhong Hui's rebellion the next year. His ambitions for the throne remain proverbial in Chinese but he died before he could rise higher than prince of Jin, a title named for the Zhou-era marchland and duchy around Shaanxi's Jin River. (He was granted the title as his ancestral home was located in Wen County within Jin's former lands.)

The Jin dynasty was founded in AD 265 by Sima Yan, posthumously known as Emperor Wu (the "Martial Emperor of Jin"). 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. 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"). Large numbers of Chinese fled south from the Central Plains; among other effects, these refugees and colonizers gave Quanzhou's Jin River its name as they settled its valley in Fujian. 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.[1]

The remnants of the Jin court fled to the east, reëstablishing 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").[1] The rival northern states, who denied the legitimacy of his succession, sometimes referred to his state as "Langye". 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. Military crises—including the rebellions of the generals Wang Dun and Su Jun but also lesser fangzhen (方鎮, "military county") revolts—plagued the Eastern Jin throughout its 104 years of existence.

Special "commanderies of immigrants" and "white registers" were created for the massive amount of northern origin Han Chinese who moved south during the Eastern Jin dynasty.[2] The southern Chinese aristocracy was formed from the offspring these migrants.[3] Celestial Masters and the nobility of northern China subdued the nobility of southern China during the Eastern Jin and Western Jin in Jiangnan in particular.[4] The most populous region of China was southern China after the depopulation of the north and the migration of northern Chinese to southern China.[5][6] 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.[7]

The Eastern Jin recovered its unity in the face of the 383 invasion by the Former Qin. The short-lived coöperation among Huan Chong (brother of General Huan Wen) and Prime Minister Xie An helped provide a major victory at the Fei River. A large amount of Former Qin territory was then taken or retaken. Later, Huan Xuan, Huan Wen's son, usurped the throne and changed the dynasty's name to Chu. He, in turn, was toppled by Liu Yu, who reinstated Sima Dezong, posthumously known as Emperor An (the "Peaceful Emperor of Jin"). Meanwhile, as civilian administration suffered, there were further revolts led by Sun En and Lu Xun; Western Shu became an independent kingdom under Qiao Zong. Liu Yu had Sima Dezong strangled and replaced by his brother Sima Dewen, posthumously known as Emperor Gong (the "Respectful Emperor of Jin"), in 419. Sima Dewen abdicated in 420 in favor of Liu Yu, who declared himself the ruler of the Song; he was asphyxiated with a blanket the following year. In the north, Northern Liang, the last of the Sixteen Kingdoms, was conquered by the Northern Wei in 439, ushering in the Northern dynasties period.

The Xianbei Northern Wei accepted the Jin refugees Sima Fei (司馬) and Sima Chuzhi (司馬楚之). They both married Xianbei princesses. Sima Fei's wife was named Huayang (公主), who was the daughter of Emperor Xiaowen; Sima Chuzhi's son was Sima Jinlong (司馬金龍), who married a Northern Liang princess who was a daughter of Xiongnu King Juqu Mujian.[8] Much later, Sima Guang (1019–1086), who served as prime minister to the Song, claimed descent from the Jin dynasty.

Culture[edit]

Yue ware with motif, 3rd century CE, Western Jin, Zhejiang.

The Jin dynasty is well known for the quality of its greenish celadon porcelain wares, which immediately followed the development of proto-celadon. Jar designs often incorporated animal, as well as Buddhist, figures.[9]

Examples of Yue ware are also known from the Jin dynasty.[10]

List of emperors[edit]

History of China
History of China
ANCIENT
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia dynasty c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang dynasty c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou dynasty c. 1046 – 256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
IMPERIAL
Qin dynasty 221–206 BC
Han dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Northern and Southern dynasties
420–589
Sui dynasty 581–618
Tang dynasty 618–907
  (Second Zhou dynasty 690–705)
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

907–960
Liao dynasty
907–1125
Song dynasty
960–1279
  Northern Song W. Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan dynasty 1271–1368
Ming dynasty 1368–1644
Qing dynasty 1644–1911
MODERN
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic
of China

1949–present
Republic of
China (Taiwan)

1949–present
Posthumous names Family name and given names Durations of reigns Era names and their according range of years
Chinese convention: "Jin" + posthumous name + "di"
Western Jin dynasty 265–316
Wu Di Sima Yan 266–290
  • Taishi 266–274
  • Xianning 275–280
  • Taikang 280–289
  • Taixi January 28, 290 – May 17, 290
Hui Di Sima Zhong 290–307
  • Yongxi May 17, 290 – February 15, 291
  • Yongping February 16 – April 23, 291
  • Yuankang April 24, 291 – February 6, 300
  • Yongkang February 7, 300 – February 3, 301
  • Yongning June 1, 301 – January 4, 303
  • Taian January 5, 303 – February 21, 304
  • Yongan February 22 – August 15, 304; December 25, 304 – February 3, 305
  • Jianwu August 16 – December 24, 304
  • Yongxing February 4, 305 – July 12, 306
  • Guangxi July 13, 306 – February 19, 307
none Sima Lun 301
  • Jianshi February 3 – June 1, 301
Huai Di Sima Chi 307–311
  • Yongjia 307 – 313
Min Di Sima Ye 313–316
  • Jianxing 313–317
Eastern Jin dynasty 317–420
Yuan Di Sima Rui 317–323
  • Jianwu 317–318
  • Taixing 318–322
  • Yongchang 322–323
Ming Di Sima Shao 323–325
  • Taining 323–326
Cheng Di Sima Yan 325–342
  • Xianhe 326–335
  • Xiankang 335–342
Kang Di Sima Yue 342–344
  • Jianyuan 343–344
Mu Di Sima Dan 344–361
  • Yonghe 345–357
  • Shengping 357–361
Ai Di Sima Pi 361–365
  • Longhe 362–363
  • Xingning 363–365
Fei Di Sima Yi 365–372
  • Taihe 365–372
Jianwen Di Sima Yu 372
  • Xianan 372–373
Xiaowu Di Sima Yao 372–396
  • Ningkang 373–375
  • Taiyuan 376–396
An Di Sima Dezong 396–419
  • Longan 397–402
  • Yuanxing 402–405
  • Yixi 405–419
Gong Di Sima Dewen 419–420
  • Yuanxi 419–420

Major events[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. pp. 56–57. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9. 
  2. ^ Jacques Gernet (31 May 1996). A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-0-521-49781-7. 
  3. ^ http://history.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/slides/Dissertation.pdf p. 81.
  4. ^ John Lagerwey; Pengzhi Lü (30 October 2009). Early Chinese Religion: The Period of Division (220-589 Ad). BRILL. pp. 831–. ISBN 90-04-17585-7. 
  5. ^ Historical Atlas of the Classical World, 500 BC--AD 600. Barnes & Noble Books. 2000. p. 2.25. ISBN 978-0-7607-1973-2. 
  6. ^ Haywood, John; Jotischky, Andrew; McGlynn, Sean (1998). Historical Atlas of the Medieval World, AD 600-1492. Barnes & Noble. p. 3.21. ISBN 978-0-7607-1976-3. 
  7. ^ Hugh R. Clark (2007). Portrait of a Community: Society, Culture, and the Structures of Kinship in the Mulan River Valley (Fujian) from the Late Tang Through the Song. Chinese University Press. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-962-996-227-2. 
  8. ^ China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004, pp. 18 ff., ISBN 978-1-58839-126-1 
  9. ^ Shanghai Museum permanent exhibit
  10. ^ Guimet Museum permanent exhibit

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Three Kingdoms
Dynasties in Chinese history
265–420
Succeeded by
Northern and Southern dynasties