Golden Age of China

After nearly four hundred years of turmoil and division, China was at the threshold of a new era. Just as the first empire of Qin in fourteen years laid the foundation for the durable Han empire, so the Sui dynasty of only 40 years preceded the brilliant Tang empire. The grandiose construction projects and foreign adventures of the second Sui emperor drained the treasury and helped cause the downfall of the dynasty. Seizing the opportunity presented by rebellion and assassination, a royal kinsman declared himself the first emperor of the Tang dynasty.

By this time the union of the teachings of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism had become the Chinese way of thought. The imperial structure reached its maturity of Tang. A fully developed examination system was used to seek out talented individuals for government service. A lane equalization system gave farmers the incentive to better their own lot. Love of luxury stimulated the growth of industry and the advancement of the arts. Wood block printing and true porcelain were invented and poetry reached unparalleled heights. Taken as a whole, the three centuries of Tang set a high water mark in so many facets of Chinese life that the era richly deserves the title "The Golden Age."

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