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Chinese Scholars: Service or Reclusion?

As a descendant of the imperial clan from the previous Southern Song dynasty, Zhao Mengfu heeded Kublai Khan's call for scholars to join the new Yuan dynasty and decided to accept service in the capital Dadu. In addition to Song imperial descendants, the early Yuan dynasty also abounded with many other scholar-officials who had served under the fallen Song. Among them were some who steadfastly remained loyal to the old dynasty and refused to serve the new Mongol Yuan dynasty. For this, they became known as "left-over subjects."

Zhao Mengfu made his decision-perhaps for the welfare of his culture in mind; nevertheless, he was scorned as a traitor by some later. He took off for the capital, beginning his life as an official.