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A History of China by Wolfram Eberhard

But what had happened to the Toba


There

is just as little of importance that can be said of the internal politics of the Ch'i dynasty. The rulers of that dynasty were thoroughly repulsive figures, with no positive achievements of any sort to their credit. Confucianism had been restored in accordance with the Chinese character of the state. It was a bad time for Buddhists, and especially for the followers of the popularized Taoism. In spite of this, about A.D. 555 great new Buddhist cave-temples were created in Lung-men, near Loyang, in imitation of the famous temples of Yuen-kang.

The fighting with the western empire, the Northern Chou state, still continued, and Ch'i was seldom successful. In 563 Chou made preparations for a decisive blow against Ch'i, but suffered defeat because the Turks, who had promised aid, gave none and shortly afterwards began campaigns of their own against Ch'i. In 571 Ch'i had some success in the west against Chou, but then it lost parts of its territory to the South Chinese empire, and finally in 576-7 it was defeated by Chou in a great counter-offensive. Thus for some three years all North China was once more under a single rule, though of nothing approaching the strength of the Toba at the height of their power. For in all these campaigns the Turks had played an important part, and at the end they annexed further territory in the north of Ch'i, so that their power extended far into the east.

Meanwhile intrigue followed

intrigue at the court of Chou; the mutual assassinations within the ruling group were as incessant as in the last years of the great Toba empire, until the real power passed from the emperor and his Toba entourage to a Chinese family, the Yang. Yang Chien's daughter was the wife of a Chou emperor; his son was married to a girl of the Hun family Tu-ku; her sister was the wife of the father of the Chou emperor. Amid this tangled relationship in the imperial house it is not surprising that Yang Chien should attain great power. The Tu-ku were a very old family of the Hun nobility; originally the name belonged to the Hun house from which the _shan-yue_ had to be descended. This family still observed the traditions of the Hun rulers, and relationship with it was regarded as an honour even by the Chinese. Through their centuries of association with aristocratically organized foreign peoples, some of the notions of nobility had taken root among the Chinese gentry; to be related with old ruling houses was a welcome means of evidencing or securing a position of special distinction among the gentry. Yang Chien gained useful prestige from his family connections. After the leading Chinese cliques had regained predominance in the Chou empire, much as had happened before in the Toba empire, Yang Chien's position was strong enough to enable him to massacre the members of the imperial family and then, in 581, to declare himself emperor. Thus began the Sui dynasty, the first dynasty that was once more to rule all China.

But what had happened to the Toba? With the ending of the Chou empire they disappeared for all time, just as the Juan-juan had done a little earlier. So far as the tribes did not entirely disintegrate, the people of the tribes seem during the last years of Toba and Chou to have joined Turkish and other tribes. In any case, nothing more is heard of them as a people, and they themselves lived on under the name of the tribe that led the new tribal league.


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