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Liao Dynasty

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During the period of the Northern Song (960-1127), there were several regimes established by different ethnic groups, such as the Liao kingdom established by the Khitan tribe (Qidan), the West Xia kingdom established by the Dangxiang tribe and the Jin kingdom established by the Nvzhen tribe.

During the Northern Wei period (386-439), the Khitan (Qidan) ethnic group appeared in the North China as a nomadic tribe. During the period of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), they strove to establish their own regime, but failed, because of the opposition of the Tang, and later the Khitan tribe was brought under the Tang Dynasty's rule. As the Tang Dynasty began to decline in its latter years, the Khitan tribe's power increased through the military attack on its neighbors. In 916, the chief of the Khitan tribe Yelv Abaoji (Emperor Taizong) united all the other Khitan branches and set up the Khitan regime with the capital settled at Shangjing (in present Inner Mongolia). Before long, the Khitan regime was renamed the 'Liao', known historically as the Liao Dynasty (916-1125).

During the reign of the Emperor Taizong - Yelv Abaoji, Liao expanded its territory into the Mongolian border and Manchuria,  and also seized the 'Youyun Sixteen Prefectures'  (referring to the area of the present Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and north Shanxi). The Liao's might posed a threat to the Song Dynasty of the time. From 1004, when the Liao started a war with the Song, there were continual skirmishes. To solve this problem, the Song finally contracted the Chanyuan Treaty with the Liao. This promoted the relations between the Song and the Liao. The peaceful state lasted until 1125, when the Song contravened the treaty by combining with the Jin to attack the Liao. This created the advantageous conditions for the mutual trade development between Song and Liao and friendly relations were established, which promoted the national amalgamation.

The Khitan tribe was a Nomadic tribe. After the Liao Dynasty was established, the government introduced farming from the central areas. Many crops were also brought in from the west, such as watermelon and chickpea. Animal husbandry was well-developed for the Khitan people were good at animal grooming, especially sheep and horses. The iron industry of the Liao Dynasty was very developed. Porcelain wares of Liao were also one of the most famous kinds among the Chinese porcelain. The development of agriculture and handicraft industries brought about more commercial activities between cities and at boarders of different states.

 Contemporaneous Dynasties:        Song                 West Xia                Jin 

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