Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

The time from 907-960 A.D. is called The Five Dynasties. However, numerous small kingdoms also existed. The Five Dynasties are the officially recognized dynasties of the north, while the south had ten kingdoms. The north was continually ravaged by warfare during this time as they were attacked time and again by the Khitans and the Turks. Conversely, the south enjoyed a time of peace, economic prosperity, and cultural growth. The leaders of the southern kingdoms were often the military governors of the Tang dynasty.

Despite the political division of China, four important advances occurred. In the south, trade became increasingly important, especially the tea trade. Efforts at state monopolization occurred in an attempt to control the revenue of the tea trade. Salt monopolies were developed and the salt tax was the top budget item during this period. The second development was translucent porcelain. This also happened in the south and was used both within China and as an export item. The next important development was in the field of printing. In about 940 A.D., the first printing of the Classics occurred. Attempts at movable type began in about 1045 A.D. Printing had far reaching effects on the Chinese people. As would occur later in Europe, printing allowed more people to become educated as books became more readily available. The availability of books also allowed for private libraries. Finally, in northern China, paper money was introduced. This introduction was due in part to the fact that metal is scarce in China. Also, the existing copper money was very heavy and difficult to transport. The beginnings of paper money were deposit certificates that merchants used in provinces that prohibited the export of copper coins. Eventually, the government would accept copper and then issue certificates, thus creating a banking system. This money system greatly increased trade. 

The practice of binding women's feet also began during this time. The first evidence of this practice shows up in about 950 A.D. Scholars are not sure why this practice began, however, it was widely practiced among both the rich and poor of China. Only a few groups did not participate in this custom. They were the boat women of Guangdong and the aboriginal people of the southwest. None of the non-Chinese groups surrounding China participated in this custom.

Buddhism experienced a sharp decline during this period. In northern China, Buddhism was heavily persecuted beginning in 955 A.D. This persecution seemed to be aimed at stopping men from becoming monks to avoid joining the armies. Many regulations were put in place. 30,336 temples and monasteries were secularized, and many monks were forced to leave the monasteries and take up secular lives. The construction of temples and monasteries was limited, as private people could no longer build them and each district was limited to a certain number of temples. Monks were also required to carry six identification cards.

Emperors of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

Temple Names

Posthumous Names

Personal Names

Reign years

Era Names and range of Years

The Five Dynasties

Taìzǔ

太祖

Xiànwǔ

獻武

Zhū Wēn

朱溫

907-912

Kaīpíng (开平) 907-911

Qiánhuà (乾化) 911-912

None

None

Zhu Yougui

朱友珪

912-913

Qiánhuà (乾化) 912-913

Fengli 913

Did not exist

Mòdì

末帝

Zhū Zhèn

朱瑱

913-923

Qiánhuà (乾化) 913-915

Zhēnmíng (贞明) 915-921

Lóngdé (龙德) 921-923

Hou (Later) Tang Dynasty 923-936

Zhuāngzōng

莊宗

No

Lǐ Cúnxù

李存勗

923-926

Tóngguāng同光 923-926

Míng zōng

明宗

No

Lǐ Sì

Yuán or

Lǐ Dǎn

李嗣源 or李亶

926-933

Tiān chéng天成926-930

Cháng xīng長興

930-933

Did not exist

Mǐndì

閔帝

Lǐ Cóng

hòu

李從厚

933-934

Yìngshùn應順

933-934

Did not exist

Mò dì

末帝

Lǐ Cóng

kē

李從珂

934-936

Qīngtaì清泰

934-936

Hou (Later) Jin Dynasty 936-947

gao zu

高祖

No

Shi Jingtang

石敬瑭

936-942

Tianfu天福

936-942

Did not exist

Chu Di

出帝

Shi Chonggui

石重貴

942-947

Tianfu 天福

942-944

Kaiyun開運

944-947

Hou (Later) Han Dynasty 947-950

Gao Zu

高祖

No

Liu Zhiyuan

劉知遠

947-948

Tianfu 天福

947

Qianyou 乾祐

948

Did not exist

Yin Di

隱帝

Liu Chengyou

劉承祐

948-950

Qianyou 乾祐

948-950

Hou (Later) Zhou Dynasty 951-960

Tai Zu

太祖

No

Guo Wei

郭威

951-954

Guangshun 廣順 951-954

Xiande 顯德

954

Shi Zong

世宗

No

Chai Rong

柴榮

954-959

Xiande顯德 954-959

Did not exist

Gong Di

恭帝

Chai Zongxun

柴宗訓

959-960

Xiande 顯德

959-960

The Ten Kingdoms

Wu Yue Kingdom 904-978

Tai Zu

太祖

Wu Su Wang

武肅王

Qian Liu

錢鏐

904-932

Tianbao天寶 908-923

Baoda寶大

923-925

Baozheng寶正

925-932

Shi Zong

世宗

Wen Mu Wang

文穆王

Qian Yuanguan

錢元瓘

932-941

Did not exist

Cheng Zong

成宗

Zhong Xian Wang

忠獻王

Qian Zuo

錢佐

941-947

Did not exist

Did not exist

Zhong Xun Wang

忠遜王

Qian Zong

錢倧

947

Did not exist

Did not exist

Zhong Yi Wang

忠懿王

Qian Chu

錢俶

947-978

Did not exist

Min Kingdom 909-945 including Yin Kingdom 943-945

Tai Zu

太祖

Zhong Yi Wang

忠懿王

Wang Shenzhi

王審知

909-925

Did not exist

Did not exist

Did not exist

Wang Yanhan

王延翰

925-926

Did not exist

Tai Zong

太宗

Hui Di

惠帝

Wang Yanjun

王延鈞

926-935

Longqi 龍啟

933-935

Yonghe 永和

935

Kang Zong

康宗

No

Wang Jipeng

王繼鵬

935-939

Tongwen 通文 936-939

Jing Zong

景宗

No

Wang Yanxi

王延羲

939-944

Yonglong 永隆 939-944

Did not exist

Tian De Di

天德帝

Wang Yanzheng

王延政

943-945

Tiande 天德

943-945

Jing Nan or Nan Ping Kingdom 906-963

Did not exist

Wu Xin Wang

武信王

Gao Jixing

高季興

909-928

Did not exist

Did not exist

Wen Xian Wang

文獻王

Gao Conghui

高從誨

928-948

Did not exist

Did not exist

Zhen Yi Wang

貞懿王

Gao Baorong

高寶融

948-960

Did not exist

Did not exist

Shi Zhong

侍中

Gao Baoxu

高寶勗

960-962

Did not exist

Did not exist

Did not exist

Gao Jichong

高繼沖

962-963

Did not exist

Chu Kingdom 897-951

Did not exist

Wu Mu Wang

武穆王

Ma Yin

馬殷

897-930

Did not exist

Did not exist

Heng Yang Wang

衡陽王

Ma Xisheng

馬希聲

930-932

Did not exist

Did not exist

Wen Zhao Wang

文昭王

Ma Xifan

馬希範

932-947

Did not exist

Did not exist

Fei Wang

廢王

Ma Xiguang

馬希廣

947-950

Did not exist

Did not exist

Gong Xiao Wang

恭孝王

Ma Xi E

馬希萼

950

Did not exist

Did not exist

Did not exist

Ma Xichong

馬希崇

950-951

Did not exist

Wu Kingdom 904-937

Tai Zu

太祖

Xiao Wu Di

孝武帝

Yang Xingmi

楊行密

904-905

Tianyou 天祐

904-905

Lie Zong

烈宗

Jing Di

景帝

Yang Wo

楊渥

905-908

Tianyou 天祐

905-908

Gao Zu

高祖

Xuan Di

宣帝

Yang Longyan

楊隆演

908-921

Tianyou 天祐

908-919

Wuyi 武義

919-921

Did not exist

Rui Di

睿帝

Yang Pu

楊溥

921-937

Shunyi順義 921-927

Qianzhen乾貞

927-929

Dahe大和

929-935

Tianzuo天祚

935-937

Nan (Southern) Tang Kingdom 937-975

Xian Zhu or Lie Zu

先主or 烈祖

No

Li Bian

李昪

937-943

Shengyuan 昇元

937-943

Zhong Zhu or Yuan Zong

中主 or元宗

No

Li Jing

李璟

943-961

Baoda 保大

943-958

Jiaotai 交泰

958

Zhongxing 中興

958

Hou Zhu

後主

Wu Wang

武王

Li Yu

李煜

961-975

Did not exist

Nan (Southern) Han Kingdom 917-971

Gao Zu

高祖

Tian Huang Da Di

天皇大帝

Liú Yán or Liú Yǎn

劉巖 or劉龑

917-925

Qiánhēng (乾亨) 917-925

Báilóng (白龍) 925-928

Dàyǒu (大有) 928-941

Did not exist

Shang Di

殤帝

Liu Fen

劉玢

941-943

Guāngtiān (光天) 941-943

Zhong Zong

中宗

       No

Liu Sheng

劉晟

943-958

Yìngqián (應乾) 943

Qiánhé (乾和) 943-958

Hou Zhu

後主

Did not exist

Liu Chang

劉鋹

958-971

Dàbbǎo (大寶) 958-971

Bei (Northern) Han Kingdom 951-979

Shi Zu

世祖

Shen Wu Di

神武帝

Liu Min

劉旻

951-954

Qianyou 乾祐 951-954

Rui Zong

睿宗

Xiao He Di

孝和帝

Liu Chengjun

劉承鈞

954-970

Qianyou 乾祐 954-957

Tianhui 天會 957-970

Shao Zhu

少主

Did not exist

Liu Jien

劉繼恩

970

Did not exist

Did not exist

Ying Wu Di

英武帝

Liu Jiyuan

劉繼元

970-982

Guangyun 廣運 970-982

Qian (Former) Shu Kingdom 907-925

Gao Zu

高祖

       No

Wang JIan

王建

907-918

Tianfu 天復 907

Wucheng 武成

908-910

Yongping 永平

911-915

Tongzheng通正

916

Tianhan 天漢

917

Guangtian 光天

918

Hou Zhu

後主

Did not exist

Wang Yan

王衍

918-925

Qiande 乾德 918-925

Xiankang咸康 925

Hou (Later) Shu Kingdom 934-965

Gao Zu

高祖

       No

Meng Zhixinag

孟知祥

934

Mingde明德

934

Hou Zhu

後主

Did not exist

Meng Chang

孟昶

938-965

Mingde明德 934-938

Guangzheng廣政

938-965


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