Post-Classical World: Medieval China’s Tang and Song Dynasties
The Tang Dynasty, 618-907 AD
After the fall of the Han Dynasty, China saw much chaos similar to what happened in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Unlike Europe though, China was eventually reunited. The Tang Dynasty was the next Chinese Dynasty to unite China for an extended amount of time.
The Tang dynasty is known as the "golden age" of Chinese culture. The capital of the Tang Dynasty, Chang-an, became incredibly wealthy and supported the flowering of Chinese culture.
Due to the popularity of the Silk Road trade routes, Chang-an became a meeting place of many different cultures and religions: Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Islam all influenced Tang culture. Syrians, Jews, Arabs, Persians, Koreans, Tibetans, and Japanese all lived side by side with the Chinese of Chang-an. In 636, Christians from Syria were allowed to build a church and hold Christian services barely six hundred years after the founding of Christianity and less than three hundred years after Christianity had become the state religion of Rome. The foreigners not only brought in new religions, but new clothes, cuisine, literature, and music as well. The imperial court itself had several performing troupes of actors and musicians gathered from surrounding nations permanently performing at the court.
Among their cultural achievements, the Tang craftsmen excelled in making porcelain and jade pottery, utensils and sculptures. Tang weavers advanced their silk-weaving, making clothes much softer and more extravagant than what Europeans were wearing in their scratchy wool. Porcelain and silk were in high demand, furthering increasing the trade between the world and China.
Poetry became a popular subject for all these new readers. The poet Li Po (701-762) became quite popular. His poetry focused on simple language that allowed the reader to immediately understand...
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