The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

Authored by: Peter Lorge

Routledge Handbook of Imperial Chinese History

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138847286
eBook ISBN: 9781315726878
Adobe ISBN:


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The period known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (Ten States) is conventionally described as running from 907, when the last emperor of the Tang dynasty abdicated his throne, to 960, when the first emperor of the Song dynasty established the Song. It is therefore a period of interregnum between the Tang and Song dynasties. These simple chronological facts, however, mask a far more complicated history that goes to the heart of traditional Chinese historiography, political philosophy, Chinese identity, and territorial imagination. Chinese historians writing during the Song dynasty were acutely aware of all of these problems, and their responses, while deeply integrated into their accounts of the period, were also informed by their own cultural and political biases. Song dynasty histories of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period were often as much about the Song dynasty as the preceding period.

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