Prosperous Period of the Tang Dynasty

The Prosperous Period of the Tang dynasty (618-907) started with the first half of 7th century and ended in the middle period of 8th century, when the Tang Empire covered a vast territory with prosperous economy, enlightened politics and consolidated national defense, and it boasted the most powerful empire in the world, so the overseas Chinese are still called the Tang people by foreigners. The Tang dynasty is the most glorious period in ancient Chinese history, and then the extensive and profound Chinese civilization spread all over the world along the Silk Road (stretching from Chang’an (present Xi’an) to the Mediterranean coast), attracting the kings, envoys, merchants, monks and international students from all over the world to gather in Chang’an, all of whom marveled at the prosperous and bustling city.

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As the history rolled on to the Prosperous Period of the Tang dynasty in China, the Americas and the Africa were still in sleeping state, the European was in the pioneering stage of the Frankfort Kingdom, the Roman Empire suffered invasions from the barbarian tribes and the Arab Empire was at war with Byzantium, Persia and India, however, the unprecedented achievements were made by the Tang Empire in economy, politics and culture during this period. Du Fu (the most well-known realist poet in Chinese history) depicted the prosperous screen of Kaiyuan Period in his poem Recalling the Past China’s silk road economic belt, which read, “Recalling the prosperous days in Kaiyuan Period, even a smaller county houses ten thousand households. The sweet rice and the white millets are filled with both pubic and private warehouse”, fully reflecting the richness and prosperity of the Tang empire.

The agriculture industry developed rapidly during the Tang dynasty, the reasons for which are mainly as follows: fist of all, the structure of plough was greatly improved, and the working people invented the Curved Shaft Plough and scoop waterwheels (ancient Chinese irrigation tool), which greatly promoted agricultural productive force. Secondly, the new large-scaled water conservancy projects were built and the old ones were renovated successively under imperial order. Thirdly, the wastelands were cultivated, and the working people created great fortunes and contributed more to the national tax revenue. At the same time, great progress was also made in handcraft industry, and the silk fabrics from Yangzhou, Yizhou (present Chengdu) and Dingzhou were famous all over the world for their wide varieties and unique patterns, symbolizing the highest level in silk industry then. The porcelains from Xingzhou were as white as snow, while the ones from Yuezhou were as green as jade, and Tang San Cai (tri-colored glazed porcelain) was favored by people from both home and abroad for its bright color and attractive appearance. The paper-making industry in Xuanzhou and Yizhou were very famous all over China.

Chang’an and Luoyang were called the West Capital and the East Capital respectively in the Tang dynasty, functioning as the national economic and political centers and the cultural exchanging centers for the Tang Empire and the foreign countries, where a number of foreigners lived and traded with the Tang people, making them the most prosperous cities in the word then.

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