Song dynasty (960–1279), period of Chinese rule and cultural advancement, founded by Zhao Kuangyin, who became the first emperor. The dynasty encompassed most of China. During this era of enlightenment trade, education, sculpture, painting, and literature flourished; a humane welfare system was instituted; and Confucian philosophy was organized into a cohesive doctrine. The Song dynasty was ended when it was conquered by the Mongols in 1279.
See also: China.