In architecture, too, Indian and Tibetan influence was felt in this period. The Tibetan pagodas came into special prominence alongside the previously known form of pagoda, which has many storeys, growing smaller as they go upward; these towers originally contained relics of Buddha and his disciples. The Tibetan pagoda has not this division into storeys, and its lower part is much larger in circumference, and often round. To this day Peking is rich in pagodas in the Tibetan style.
The Mongols also developed in China the art of carpet-knotting, which to this day is found only in North China in the zone of northern influence. There were carpets before these, but they were mainly of felt. The knotted carpets were produced in imperial workshops—only, of course, for the Mongols, who were used to carpets. A further development probably also due to West Asian influence was that of cloisonne technique in China in this period.
Painting, on the other hand, remained free from alien influence, with the exception of the craft painting for the temples. The most famous painters of the Mongol epoch were Chao Meng-fu (also called Chao Chung-mu, 1254-1322), a relative of the deposed imperial family of the Sung dynasty, and Ni Tsan (1301-1374).
(B) The Ming Epoch (1368-1644)
1 Start. National feeling
It was necessary to give special attention to the reasons for the downfall of Mongol rule in China, in order to make clear the cause and the character of the Ming epoch that followed it. It is possible that the erroneous impression might be gained that the Mongol epoch in China was entirely without merits, and that the Mongol rule over China differed entirely from the Mongol rule over other countries of Asia. Chinese historians have no good word to say of the Mongol epoch and avoid the subject as far as they can. It is true that the union of the national Mongol culture with Chinese culture, as envisaged by the Mongol rulers, was not a sound conception, and consequently did not endure for long. Nevertheless, the Mongol epoch in China left indelible traces, and without it China’s further development would certainly have taken a different course.