JIN/KIN DYNASTY (1115 – 1234AD)

The Jin (or Kin) Dynasty was a regime established by the Jurchen (Nuzhen) tribe. The founder was Wanyan Aguda. The Dynasty was headed by nine successive emperors and reigned for 120 years.

The ancestors of the Jurchen people had lived in the Changbai Mountains and the Helongjiang Valley long before. During the early years of the Liao (916 - 1125) reign, the clan community of the Primary Society still dominated within the tribe. With the widespread adoption of iron tools and the fast growing population, the tribe achieved a position of great influence. By the time of the closing years of the Liao, the Jurchen tribe had become a formidable power in Northern China.

The Jurchen tribe consisted of dozens of clans in which the Wanyan clan was the largest. In 1113, Wanyan Aguda succeeded as the chieftain of the clan union and united all them which marked a new era in Jurchen tribe history.

In 1114, Wanyan Aguda performed a ritual with his armies on the bank of the Lailiu River (present day Jianlalin River between Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces) and declared war on the Liao. After his victories in Ningjiang and Chuhedian, Aguda established a new dynasty ·§C the Great Jin Dynasty in 1115 and proclaimed himself emperor. History records Aguda as Emperor Taizu.

Initially, the Jin Dynasty established its capital city in Huining Prefecture (presently Baicheng, south of Acheng, Heilongjiang Province), and later moved to Yanjing (present day Beijing City). Lastly the capital was moved to Bianjing on the site of modern Kaifeng City in Henan Province.

Conquest of the Liao and the Song

For a long period, Jin people were oppressed by the Khitan people. So, soon after winning a decisive victory in the battle of Hubudagang, the Jin carried out its plan to conquer the Liao. In 1120, the Jin Dynasty made an alliance with the Northern Song (960 -1127) to defeat the Liao. In 1125, the Liao Emperor Tianzuo was captured and his dynasty collapsed. The Jin then took total control of Northern China.

Soon afterwards, the Jin then turned against the Northern Song. Emperor Taizong (Wanyan Sheng), greatly encouraged by the victory over the Liao, launched a general war against the Song. In 1127, the Jin army took Kaifeng, the capital city and captured the Song emperor. Following the fall of the Northern Song, the remainder of the court fled south and established a new dynasty - Southern Song (1127 - 1279).

The newly founded Southern Song (1127 - 1279) soon became a target for the Jin. However, this proved less successful due to the resistance of Yuefei, Han Shizhong and other heroes. The Jin army suffered heavy setbacks and could no longer match the Song. Thus a period of coexistence between the two rival powers came into being.

The Jin rulers adopted a positive attitude towards the Han culture. The Jin Dynasty made an important contribution to the field of art. They had inherited the characteristics of Liao architecture and absorbed that of the Song. One of the finest examples of their architecture is the Lugou Bridge. Completed between 1188 and 1192, it is the oldest existing multi-arched stone bridge in the Beijing area. The exquisite sculptures on the bridge and its ornamental columns demonstrate a practical application of the aesthetic principles of unity and variation which are a great attraction to this day.

Decline and collapse of the Jin Dynasty

An uneasy period of peace during which the rival Jin and Southern Song existed side by side was made possible by the Jin allying themselves with the Western Xia. This gave the Jin a dominant position from which they were able to demand tribute from the Song. However, the Jin underestimated the growing threat from their ancient enemies, the Mongolians. Rather than taking the sensible step of uniting with the Western Xia and Song to oppose the Mongols, the Jin foolishly attacked the Song while attempting to resist the Mongols. This policy resulted in the Jin's isolation with no possibility of assistance. In 1233, the Mongolian army led by Ogodei conquered Bianjing. The emperor of the Jin fled to Caizhou (Runan County in Henan Province). In the next year, the Mongolian army, assisted by the Song army, captured Caizhou and put an end to the Jin Dynasty.

During the Jin's span of 120 years, nine emperors had occupied the throne. At its peak, the population numbered some 44.7 million people while the territory extended from the Outer Xing'an Mountain in the north, to the Huai River in the south and from the sea coast in the east, to Shaanxi in the west.