Sui Dynasty

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  • Dates: 581-618
  • Chinese/Japanese: 隋 (Suí / Zui)

The Sui Dynasty was a short-lived but significant dynasty in Chinese history which reunited China in 589 after over 360 years of division, and which set the foundations for the Tang Dynasty which would follow.

The Sui was established in 581 when Yang Jian, a general of the Northern Zhou Dynasty, usurped the throne, declaring an end to the Northern Zhou and taking the throne himself as Emperor Wen of Sui. Within eight years, he conquered the remainder of China, putting an end to the period of Northern and Southern Dynasties (a sub-section of the Six Dynasties Period) and reuniting China under a single Imperial state for the first time since the fall of the Han in 220.

Building on a legacy of Sino-Nomadic governments of the north, Emperor Wen attempted to reconcile this political heritage with that of the more dominantly Han Chinese political traditions of the south, incorporating Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism alongside one another in the formulation of a new legal code.


  • Conrad Schirokauer, et al, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, Fourth Edition, Cengage Learning (2012), 100-101.