The Sui and Tang Empires, 581-755
* After the fall of the Han China was fragmented for several centuries. * China was reunified with the Sui dynasty, father and son rulers who held power from 581 until Turks from Inner Asia defeated the son * Small kingdoms of northern China and Inner Asia that had come and gone structured themselves around a variety of political ideas and institution. * People preferred having an emperor, a bureaucracy using the Chinese language, and a Confucian state philosophy. * In northern China, deserts, and steppe of Inner Asia focused on political life, commercial linkage, and a source of new ideas. * Sui’s called their capital Chang’an.
* The old Han capital was in the Wei River Valley.
* Grand Canal: linking the Yellow River with the Yangzi. * The Sui improved the Great Wall. the barrier from the nomads. * The Sui military extended to Korea, Vietnam, and Inner Asia. * Overextension lead to political problems from military defeat and assassination of second Sui empire. * Li family took over Sui.
* The Li changed the name to Tang.
* Li Shimin extended the empire into Inner Asia
* The Tang Empire retained many Sui governing practices and avoided over centralization. * The Tang emperors descended from Turkic elites.
* Tang art: large pottery.
* Tang used Chinese weapons in war.
* In 650 to 751 Tang was defeated in Central Asia by an Arab Muslim army at the Battle of Talas River, the Tang armies were a difficult force. Buddhism and the Tang Empire
* Buddhism flourished in Inner Asia and north China.
* Buddhism believed protecting spirits were to help the ruler govern and prevent harm from coming to his people. * Mahayana, or “Great Vehicle” Buddhism was the greatest. * Mahayana Buddhism: faith in enlightened beings- bodhisattvas- who postponed nirvana to help others achieve enlightenment. * Mahayana encouraged translating Buddhist scripture into local language. * Early Tang princes competing for political influence enlisted monastic leaders to pray for them. For this, monasteries earned tax exemptions, land, and gifts. * As Tang Expanded west contact with Central Asia and India increased. * Chang’an, the Tang capital, became a center of a system of communication. * Many historians characterize the Tang Empire as “cosmopolitan” because of its diversity.
To Chang’an by Land and Sea
* Chang’an became the center of what is called the tributary system, a type of political relationship which independent countries acknowledge the Chinese supremacy. Upheavals and Repression
* The later years of the Tang Empire saw increasing turmoil as a result of conflict with Tibetans and Turkic Uighurs. * The Tang elites came to see Buddhism as discouragement of the Confucian idea of the family as the model for state. * Confucian scholar Han Yu wrote “Memorial on the Bone of Buddha”. * Buddhism was also attacked for encouraging women in politics. * Wu Zhao a woman, married into the imperial family, seized control of the government and declared herself emperor. * She became a Bodhisattva. As well as favored Buddhists and Daoists over Confucianism in her court and government. * People didn’t like women ruling and writers such as Yang Guifei and Bo Zhuyi. * Because of this people blamed Yang Guifei for the outbreak of the An Lushan rebellion. * Historians characterized women and unorthodox rulers as evil. * Buddhism shunned early ties, monks and nuns served relations with the secular world in search of enlightenment. * Buddhist people were exempted from taxes.
* The government wanted to destroy the monasteries who had tax exemption and received land. * Monasteries such as Dunhauang were protected by local warlords in Inner Asia. The End of the Tang Empire
* An Lushan, a Tang general on the northeast frontier, led 200,000 soldiers...
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