The Song Dynasty in China lasted from 960-1279. In 1000CE the Song Dynasty was the most advanced place in the world. From Asian Topics on Asia for Educators at Columbia University:
Why the Song Dynasty Is So Significant
Many ways of living and acting that Westerners now see as most thoroughly “Chinese,” or even characteristically East Asian, did not appear before the Song.
The Chinese, we know, are rice eaters and tea drinkers; but most Chinese in the Tang and before at wheat and millet and drank wine, in that respect looking perhaps more “Western” than “Eastern”; rice and tea became dominant food and drink in the Song.
China’s population, we know, is huge, and tends to “explode”; its first explosion occurred in the Song.
The Chinese, we know, are “Confucians”; but the kind of Confucianism that served as government orthodoxy throughout late-imperial times was a Song reinvention.
Chinese women, we may know, bound their feet; but they did not bind them until the Song.
Even the “Chinese” roof with its turned-up corners is by origin a Song Chinese roof. (1)
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