Over time, the quality of the bureaucracy deteriorated, and when the Juchen (Chinese: Nüzhen, or Ruzhen)—tribes from the North who overthrew the Liao—burst into the northern Song state, it was easy prey.
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Flourishing private academies and state schools graduated increasing numbers of competitors for the civil service examinations.
The administration developed a comprehensive welfare policy that made this one of the most humane periods in Chinese history.
The Bei Song dynasty at Bianjing had begun a renewal of Buddhism and of literature and the arts.
The greatest poets and painters in the empire were in attendance at court.
In the Nan Song many great painters served at the Hanlin Academy, becoming noted for brush effects, miniatures, and, under Chan (Zen) influence, paintings of Buddhist deities, animals, and birds.