Wu Zetian's Impact on Chinese History

Topics: Tang Dynasty, Emperor of China, China / Pages: 5 (1587 words) / Published: Aug 23rd, 2014
Zizhao Zheng,
WH 10,
08/20/14
Wu Zetian
In China, Express Wu, a woman, is known to every household and whose history records are studied as crucial academic materials in schools. Wu Zetian is one of the women who I respect the most in Chinese ancient history. In the male – dominated society, Wu Zetian was a special woman who had ambition that no one dares to try as a female, studied predecessors’ wisdom and assimilated it into her own new thoughts. Her path of being an express consort was filled with blood and tears and completed by sacrificing many things for her ambition. She had the courage to challenge old orders and innovated from tradition. Her changes to politics, culture, religions, education and military triggered a crucial impact to the future generation.
Her work on religion gave an important impact to leading position of Buddhism in China. In Tang dynasty, Buddhism played a leading role as a state religion collected thousands of followers. One of the reasons that Buddhism could be spread out rapidly was the support from emperors. From the book “Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations ...”,
“…exactly when Wu Zetian devised the plan to use Buddhism as a means to legitimize her authority. The declaration of Buddhism as the state religion of China in 674 by Emperor Gaozong, perhaps on the urging of the Wu Zetian, may have won her initial back from the Buddhist clergy… made it easier for her to employ Buddhist personnel and paraphernalia for political purposes” (Zen, P80). From the quote shown above, Wu Zetian used Buddhism to legitimize her power in the empire. Her high attention on Buddhist helped it increase its importance in Tang dynasty. Wu Zetian employed Buddhist personnel for her political ambition, meaning that Buddhism also affected the politics at that period. As a respond, Buddhist clergy supported Wu Zetian by claiming her as a rebirth of Maitreya.
“The fact that the Buddhist clergy working



Cited: Primary: 1. Jong, Minrhee. Empress Wu of the Tang Dynasty: Becoming the Only Female Emperor in China. N.p.: U of Southern California. East Asian Languages and Cultures, 2008. Print. 2. Zong.Qinke, Characters of Empress Wu ZeTian. Vol. 76. N.p.: n.p., December 689 AD. Print. Secondary: 1. Wu, Qingyun. Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1995. Print. 2. Sen, Tansen. Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-indian Relations, 600-1400. Honolulu: U of Hawai 'i, 2003. Print. 3. Keay, John. China: A History. New York: Basic, 2009. Print. 4. Lorge, Peter Allan. Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-first Century. New York, NY: Cambridge UP, 2012. Print.

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