Created by Kublai Khan, the Yuan Dynasty was a strong military force, contrasting with the previous Song Dynasty. The grandson of Chinggis Khan, Kublai founded the Dynasty in 1271. After brutally conquering the Southern Song, Kublai began his work of creating a stable government.
Foreign rule had a tremendous effect on many people in China, but an especially prominent class that was affected were the scholar-officials. Many high offices were reserved for Mongols only, and what government jobs that were available were things like teacher positions, clerk jobs, and the like. Many turned to art, and created a profound art movement during the time of the Yuan.
The history of the Yuan Dynasty is fascinating; barbarians creating and maintaining a highly ordered bureuaucratic government for centuries. Scholars turning to art as a means of expression and coping. Life in China was forever changed by the Yuan Dynasty, and it still has tendrils into the present day.