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China's Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty (History of - download pdf or read online

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By Mark Edward Lewis

ISBN-10: 067403306X

ISBN-13: 9780674033061

The Tang dynasty is frequently known as China’s “golden age,” a interval of business, spiritual, and cultural connections from Korea and Japan to the Persian Gulf, and a time of unsurpassed literary creativity. Mark Lewis captures a dynamic period within which the empire reached its maximum geographical volume below chinese language rule, portray and ceramic arts flourished, ladies performed an incredible function either as rulers and within the financial system, and China produced its most interesting lyric poets in Wang Wei, Li Bo, and Du Fu. The chinese language engaged in large alternate on sea and land. retailers from internal Asia settled within the capital, whereas chinese language marketers trigger for the broader global, the start of a world diaspora. The emergence of an economically and culturally dominant south that used to be managed from a northern capital set a trend for the remainder of chinese language imperial background. Poems celebrated the glories of the capital, pondered on person loneliness in its midst, and defined heroic younger males and gorgeous ladies who stuffed urban streets and bars. regardless of the romantic air of mystery connected to the Tang, it was once now not a time of endless peace. In 756, basic An Lushan led a rebellion that shook the rustic to its middle, weakening the govt. to the sort of measure that by means of the early 10th century, local warlordism gripped many parts, heralding the decline of the nice Tang. (20100501)

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Additional info for China's Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty (History of Imperial China)

Example text

But in his later years, the story goes, the aging emperor fell under the spell of yet another ambitious woman. Leaving the affairs of state to the care of a single unreliable minister, he surrendered himself to the bliss of a late-blossoming passion. The mismanaged government stumbled into a catastrophic military rebellion that led to the death of the beloved concubine, the deposition of the ruler, and the near-collapse of the dynasty. Not only is this traditional account based on misogynistic moral judgments and the self-flattery of the literati, but a two-part division of Xuanzong’s reign is not the most analytically useful.

Depending on their attitudes toward the empress, modern scholars have described this group variously as a “sinister” and “secret” secretariat or as an anticipation of the Hanlin Academy, a group of scholars without administrative posts who participated in government activities. 15 A more accurate formulation of the empress’s advisers might be as an “inner court” on the model of the Han and subsequent dynasties. While Empress Wu’s policies were in part a replay of the power shift toward the center that had been a recurrent feature of imperial Chinese history up to that moment and were in part a result of her present need to assert her own authority against a defiant bureaucracy, they also anticipated the long-term development of the Chinese empire in the direction of ever-greater autocracy.

This mode of life became a poetic theme in the period, indeed a cliché. Many major poets of the late Tang wrote satiric poems with titles such as “The Pleasures of the Wandering Merchant,” like this example by Zhang Ji (d. 780): On the west bank opposite Jinling are many traveling merchants Living out their lives on shipboard, enjoying their existence amid wind and waves. About to set sail, they move their ships near to the entrance to the Yangzi And on the ships’ prows pray to the spirits and libate them with wine .

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China's Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty (History of Imperial China) by Mark Edward Lewis

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