Six Dynasties, period of Chinese history between the fall of the Han dynasty (A.D. 220) and the unification of China under the Sui dynasty (A.D. 589). It is named for the six successive dynasties that appeared in S China during the period: the Wu (222–80), the Eastern Ch'in (317–419), the Liu-Sung (420–79), the Southern Ch'i (479–502), the Liang (502–57), and the Ch'en (557–89). Although a time of severe political disunion, the period of the Six Dynasties was marked by much originality in art, literature, and thought.
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