Yuan Dynasty 1279-1368

The invasion of China by the northern 'barbarians' from Mongolia was at first a huge trauma for China. However as with previous invasions, the new rulers eventually took to the Chinese ways that were convenient to them. At this time Europeans such as Marco Polo visited during the Yuan dynasty and reported tantalising glimpses of life in China. Knowledge of China started having an impact in Europe under the huge Mongol empire. Perhaps it was fortunate that Khubilai rather than his brutal grandfather Genghis ruled China. Khubilai (Chinese temple name Shizu) seems content to rule China rather than expand the Great Khanate empire. It was not long before the new rulers settled down with the existing infrastructure. It was in their interest to continue to use the well established and efficient civil service and tax system. The capital now moved to Beijing for the first time and it was laid out according to Chinese planning rules. The Grand Canal was extended to link to the new Capital and was now over one thousand miles long. Confucianism remained the prevailing doctrine.

Towards the end, nationalist sentiment invigorated by the suppressed Daoists led to the collapse and overthrow of the hated, foreign rulers.

See Also : Map of China during the Yuan Dynasty


Khubilai (Shizu)1279-1294
Temur Oljeitu (Chanegzong)1294-1307
Kaishan (Wuzong)1308-1311
Ayurbarwada (Renzong)1311-1320
Shidebala (Yingzong)1321-1323
Yesun Temur (Taiding)1323-1328
Tugh Temur (Wenzong)1328-1329, 1329-1332
Khoshila (Mingzong)1329
Toghon Temur (Shundi)1333-1368

Pottery figures of an actor and a dancer
Pottery figures of an actor and a dancer
The actor is represented in a very lively manner in the act of whistling. Yuan dynasty Height 37cms and 39.2cms Unearthed in 1963 at Jiaozuo, Henan province.

Here are some photographs reflecting Yuan times, click on the thumbnail to see the photograph in full

Genghis Khan Statue
Yingqing Ware
Porcelain Flask

See also :
Chinasage guide to Mongol dynasty

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