Characteristics of Mongol control over China included a new written language, a golden age of theater, a rise in status of artisans (especially painters), an increase in hunting for sport, and battle rituals that paid tribute to Tenggeri, the Mongol sky god. Mongol rule also conserved much of the culture of China that was in place at the time.Continue Reading
The Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous empire in history, stretching at its greatest from Central Europe to the Sea of Japan. It began as a collection of tribes in the steppes of Central Asia and was eventually unified under Tiemuzhen, later named Genghis Khan, around 1206 A.D. By the time Genghis Khan died in 1227, the Mongols had conquered modern-day Beijing. They conquered all of Northern China by 1241 under Khan's sons, and all of China by 1279.
Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis, founded the Yuan Dynasty in 1271, adopting a more traditional Chinese name for his house. In 1264, he moved his capital to Beijing, then called Yuandadu. During his rule, he also adopted more of the political structure and theory of China, which included a strong central government. Mongol rulers in the Yuan Dynasty patronized the theater, which included mimes, acrobats and colorful costumes, according to Asia for Educators from Columbia University. They also hired many painters and artisans to the court.Learn more about Middle Ages