Wu Zetian

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  • Topic: Tang Dynasty, Wu Zetian, Emperor Gaozong of Tang
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Rui Wang
A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of East Asian Studies University of Toronto © 2008 by Rui Wang
Wu Zetian's Contribution to the Cultural Development of the Tang Dynasty Rui Wang
Master of Arts Thesis, November 2008
Department of East Asian Studies
University of Toronto
This thesis represents cross-section of sources on a selection of major topics and issues related to Wu Zetian's policies and accomplishments in promoting the cultural development of the Tang Dynasty. Her contribution to the cultural development of the Tang Dynasty can be summarized into several aspects: increased the number of hiring sources, which drew a larger talent pool of potential candidates; increased the importance of the Imperial Examination System, and made bold innovations to it; selected scholars as officials according to the effectiveness of their essays and emphasized their literary accomplishments and ability to identify, relate and solve pertinent societal issues; broke the traditionalist's hold on power and influence, and integrated people of various backgrounds and cultures; summoned scholars to compile reference book, which facilitated cultural prosperity, promoted Buddhism and other religions simultaneously. All of those bold reforms enabled a paradigm shift that fostered an economically, socially and culturally rich society to flourish and prosper. Table of Contents

Abstract ii
Table of Contents iii
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
1.1 Cultural development during the Zhenguan Period 2
Advocating Confucianism and embracing a pluralistic cultural development policy
Promoting historiography cultural classics
Expanding the Imperial Examination System
Ceasing military activities and preparing for cultural development

1.2 Brief introduction to Wu Zetian 12
1.3 Wu Zetian's accomplishments 15
Wu Zetian was accomplished in poetry
Wu Zetian was accomplished in prose writing
Wu Zetian was accomplished in calligraphy
Wu Zetian was accomplished in classics and histories
Wu's admiration for the competent
Wu's respects for the worthy
Sources for the talents

2.2 Bold innovations of the Imperial Examination System 31
Elevating the status of the examination for the Jinshi degree
Formulating the "Royal Palace Examination"
Introducing "Military Candidacy in Provincial Examinations"
Adopting "Hu Ming Kao" in the imperial examination system

2.3 Selection of officials and the age of prospering literary arts 39 2.4 Striking the clan families and fusing different cultures 44
Suppressing the power of influential clan families
Moving the capital to Luoyang
Changing the Records of Clans into the Records of Family Names

2.5 Compilation of reference books 52
2.6 Promoting Buddhism and developing the three religions simultaneously 57
The rising of Buddhism culture
The promotion of Taoism culture
Developing the three religions simultaneously

Chapter 3 Researchers' and historians' comments on Wu Zetian 75 BIBLIOGRAPHY 87 IV
Chapter 1- Introduction
Throughout China's feudal history, the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) is a significant historical period for its triumphant civilization. As one of the world's three Axial Ages1, the Tang Dynasty had achieved significant contributions to the world's cultural development. The period of Wu Zetian's reign was the transitional period from the Early Tang Dynasty(618-712 AD) to the Great Tang Dynasty(713-765 AD), and the reign of this Empress was so long that it covered nearly one quarter of the duration of the Tang Dynasty. Therefore, it is important to be cognizant of the historical influence of Wu Zetian (624-705 AD) had on Chinese history. Wu Zetian is one of the historical figures who produced the greatest impact and brought about the greatest debate...
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