Most influential/important/greatest Chinese dynasty ever?

Jul 2010
Not sure what it is
The Ming also gave birth to Chinese erotic fiction. :eek:
Oh Chinese had those before Ming all right. Many of the "legend stories"傳奇 from Tang were erotic. "Story scripts" 話本 from Song also. IIRC, some of the ghost stories from Wei魏and Jin晉 were also erotic.

But they are mostly short stories.


Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
Los Santos, San Andreas
Oh Chinese had those before Ming all right. Many of the "legend stories"傳奇 from Tang were erotic. "Story scripts" 話本 from Song also. IIRC, some of the ghost stories from Wei魏and Jin晉 were also erotic.

But they are mostly short stories.
Yeah but during the Ming they were widespread and became novels. Some even had pictures printed on them.

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
I would say the Han dynasty. While the first Qin dynasty unified China, it didn't last long enough to establish a tradition of an unified China. It was the Han dynasty that created a tradition of a single Chinese nation. While China occaissionally broke up, there was always this tradition of a single Chinese nation that caused the pieces to later join together. While we take it for granted, the separate Chinese states could have developed into separate countries, like the various countries in Europe. The Han dynasty was long enough so that there always remained this idea of a unified China. The Qin started the idea, but it didn't last long enough for the idea to fully become established.
Mar 2012
In terms of projecting military power (in absolute terms, not relative to contemporaries) abroad, and counting the total quantity of political allies/vassals, I'll rank it in the following manner:

1) Yuan
2) Tang
3) Ming
4) Qing
5) Han
6) Sui
7) PRC
8) Western Jin
9) Qin
10) Jurchen Jin

The Yuan obviously had the greatest extent in terms of area of any dynasty, its formal territory, as the primary sources stated, far surpassed those of the Han and Tang. It extended from Japan in the east to Central Europe and Turkey in the west, with expeditionary forces reaching even as far north as the Arctic ocean and in the south, the Yuan navy reached Java whereas the army reached central Myanmar. In 1338 even northern Laos was placed under the Yuan pacification superintendent. Even though the Yuan had no centralized authority over the other Qanates, it was still the nominal lord and had tax collecting abilities in the other Qanates. The Yuan and Ilkhanate were also close military allies. Even just counting the area under the Yuan alone and not the other Qanates, it was still among the top two largest regimes alongside the Tang.

The Tang at its height projected political (established a series of Jimi/loose reigning prefectures) and military influence from Outer Manchuria (Blackwater prefecture over the Mohe) and the Korean peninsula to the Aral/Caspian sea and the borders of Iran. The Tang army captured Chebi Kaghan on the Yeneisei river valley in 650; the furthest north any Chinese army penetrated (excluding the Yuan). It's northern extent reached the Guligan in northern Siberia to Central Vietnam in the South, except Tibet (which was also an early Tang ally/vassal), it had almost the entirety of the territories of the PRC and extended far beyond.

On land, in addition to China proper, the Ming briefly conquered Annam, southern Mongolia, Hami, and the Ming jimi administration system extended to all of Manchuria and the northern Amur river valley, which was inspected regularly, its loose nominal authority extended to Tibet (Wusizang Duwei), much of northern Southeast Asia (with the six Pacification Superintendent (Xuanwei si), over present Burma, Chiang Mai, and Northern Laos). Taizu and Chenzu also briefly captured the Kherlen river and Qarakorum. Even including the loose administrative system, the Ming was still smaller than the Qing in extent, but if we include its naval projection, its range of projection even rivaled those of the Mongol Yuan and surpassed those of the Qing. Even compared to the PRC, China's only military base overseas today is in Djibouti, whereas the Ming had several government depots in Malacca, Sumadera, Bangladesh and probably Cochin, Sri Lanka, Calicut, and Luzon as well. Ming records alone mention 36 states submitting and allowing the passage of Zheng He's fleet, as far as Milindi in East Africa. The PRC even if attaining regional dominance, would project little beyond the nine-dashed lines, whereas the Ming fleet already sailed unopposed on the various islands of the South China Seas and beyond and claimed the entire ocean.

The Qing is larger than the Han and PRC, and at its height it projected its military power to Tashkent, much of the Kazakhs were under nominal Qing influence, sandwiched between Russia and China. Qing campaigns into Myanmar and Vietnam were halted (whereas the Ming conquered northern Vietnam and successfully campaigned into central Burma in 1414 and 1440s respectively), however, so while its Inner Asian extent was larger than the Ming, its southern expansion was more limited. It's hard to rank the two but I chose the Ming under Yongle because of its naval projection.

The Han at its height managed to vassalize the Xiongnu and have a heavy influence over their internal politics (including the selection of the Chanyu Xian), in that its military and political influence probably surpassed the size of the PRC. Similarly, the Sui at its height also vassalized both Gokturk empires.

The Jurchen Jin is the largest regime which didn't unify southern China, yet it was bigger than the Northern Song and Qin dynasty (however considering the Qin had southern China, it was probably somewhat more strategically relevant). However, it controlled almost all of northern China, Mongolia, and Manchuria and also briefly vassalized the Southern Song and Xi Xia. Jurchen tribes also made raids to Japan. The ROC is bigger than the Western Jin and Jurchen Jin, but it had little centralized control, and was constantly under the threat from Japan or the USSR.
Mar 2012
Japan was invaded and Tsushima island was briefly captured. Large parts of north Korea was in fact incorporated into the Mongol Empire and even the vassal state of Koryo in the south was heavily controlled by the Mongols (with royal hostages send to the Mongol court), and not like its relationship with the Ming.