Tang Dynasty - Chinese History for AP World History
Tang Dynasty: 618 - 907 AD
Major Accomplishments: Confucianism returns to the Chinese government, Buddhism becomes a force in China, Tang cities grow
population: approx. 70 million
Tang Dynasty Overview
The Tang Dynasty was founded in 618 by the Li family who took power after the assignation of the Sui dynasty emperor. The empire’s capital was located in the city of Chang’an. The Tang dynasty traded along the Silk Road and connected China to the cities of central Asia, the Middle East, the Abbasid Dynasty in Baghdad, and even the Roman Byzantine Dynasty in Constantinople. The Silk Road led to higher profits for merchants, better tax income for the empire, and a higher standard of living for the Chinese people. This brought more merchants to China where they had more protection for robbers. After they worked up their wealth they made a fierce, powerful army. The army led to expansion of the Tang. The newly acquired land made more area for agriculture and their control on trade grew. The Tang Dynasty had the first empress named Wu.
Intellect was an important part of an empire and the Tang had many achievements in this area. The Tang Dynasty had many inventions that helped to make life easier for the upper class, that made the upper class have more time on their hands which led to foot bindings, this almost certainly helped the Confucian social hierarchy. The Tang Dynasty invented a lot of life enhancing inventions. They invented the printing press so scribes and writers would have an easier time writing and more books and poems were published. The Tang Dynasty invented the clock making people aware of when it will get dark and how long until an event. Finally gunpowder was invented. Gunpowder in the Tang was not used in bombs for the military; however they were used for fireworks for the rich to have celebrations. All these inventions give free time that people wouldn’t have without them, but this free time only goes to the upper class.
As a sign of wealth, during the Tang dynasty some noble Chinese families started binding their daughter’s feet. When they were young the wife would squish their daughter’s feet into a ball and wrap it as tight as they could with linen or cloth. Since there is only mostly cartilage in the foot in this age the foot began to form in this smaller shape. When the daughter starts to age her feet grow into a little ball because of how their foot is wrapped. This put the rich females out of work putting even more of a burden onto the slaves and peasants. Only the rich could afford to be out of work, so only the rich people practiced foot binding. The foot bindings led to an even bigger gap between men and women in the Confucian social hierarchy. The men were always on top of this hierarchy, but since many women had club feet they were unable to work, thus making this gap bigger. The men had more control over the women because they got stronger when the women got weaker and unable to work. The woman couldn’t provide for herself so the male would have to do that job making the woman useless and defenseless.
When it came to politics the Tang Dynasty ruled confidently and powerfully until the start of the empire’s slow decline in 763. Their religion, Confucianism, led their decisions in the government. The strong government led to a strong, fierce military force, this military led to the expansion of China and the reestablished safety on the Silk Road. All government officials practiced and followed Confucianism. That means all government officials and teachers were men. All of the government officials took a civil service exam. A civil service exam tests to see how much they know about the Confucian study and the law. The higher they score the higher they place in the government. The government made a powerful military that couldn’t be stopped. They were strong because they were big in numbers. There armor and weapons were also advanced for their time. They also had advanced war strategies like hiding people behind other people. All these aspects led to the aspects of expansion and safety to China. They expanded their territory making it overlap the Silk Road trade route. This made it easier to protect from Mughals and robbers. As the Dynasty grew their safety and control over China grew.
Tang Dynasty 618-907 C.E
Second Classical Chinese Age
Empress Wu 625-705 AD
Tang Social Life
Foot-Binding in Tang China
Transition Period between Tang and Song