Southern and Northern Dynasties

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The Southern and Northern Dynasties (Chinese: ; pinyin: Nánběicháo) was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589 AD. Though an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time of flourishing in the arts and culture, advancement in technology, and the spreading of Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism. The period saw the first recorded large-scale migration of Han Chinese people to the lands south of the Yangtze River.

During this period the process of sinicization accelerated among the non-Chinese arrivals in the north and among the aboriginal people in the south. This process was also accompanied by the increasing popularity of Buddhism (introduced into China in the 1st century AD) in both north and south China, along with Daoism gaining influence from the outline of Buddhist scriptures (with two essential Daoist canons written during this period). Although multiple story towers such as guard towers and residential apartments existed in previous periods,[1] during this period the distinct Chinese pagoda tower (for storing Buddhist scriptures) evolved from the stupa, the latter originating from Buddhist traditions of protecting sutras in ancient India.

There were notable technological advances during this period. With the invention of the stirrup during the earlier Western Jin Dynasty, heavy cavalry became standard in combat. Advances in medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and cartography are also noted by historians. The famous Chinese mathematician and astronomer Zu Chongzhi (429500 AD) belonged to this age, an intellectual and social product of the elite culture shaped and developed in southern China during this period of time.

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The Division

Chinese historiography
Timeline of Chinese history
Dynasties in Chinese history
Linguistic history
Art history
Economic history
Education history
Science and technology history
Legal history
Media history
Military history
Naval history

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