Key Points

Although the Silk road from China to the West was at first formulated during the regime of Emperor Wu that Han (141–87 BCE), it to be reopened by the Tang empire in 639 CE when Hou Junji dominated the West, and remained open for almost four decades.The Silk road was the most essential pre-modern Eurasian trade route, opened long-distance political and also economic relations between the civilizations.Though silk was definitely the major trade items exported native China, numerous other items were traded, and religions, syncretic philosophies, and various technologies, as well as diseases, likewise spread along the Silk Road.In addition to financial trade, the Silk road served together a means of transporting out cultural trade amongst the people along that is network.Chinese marine presence increased dramatically during the tang period, providing rise to large seaports and also trade relations with Africa, India, and beyond.

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Pax Sinica

A duration of tranquility in eastern Asia, preserved by Chinese hegemony, throughout which long-distance profession flourished, urban ballooned, standards of life rose, and the population surged.

Silk Road

An ancient network of trade routes that for centuries were central to social interaction through areas of the eastern continent connecting the West and also East indigenous China to the Mediterranean Sea.


Through use of land profession along the Silk Road and also maritime trade by sail at sea, the tang were may be to get many new technologies, cultural practices, rarely luxuries, and modern items. From the center East, India, Persia, and central Asia the flavor were able to acquire new ideas in fashion, brand-new types that ceramics, and improved silver-smithing. The Chinese additionally gradually adopted the foreign concept of stools and also chairs together seating, whereas before they had always sat top top mats placed on the floor. In the center East, the Islamic people coveted and purchased in bulk Chinese products such as silks, lacquerwares, and also porcelain wares. Songs, dances, and musical instruments from foreign regions came to be popular in China throughout the flavor dynasty. These musical instruments consisted of oboes, flutes, and small lacquered drums from Kucha in the Tarim Basin, and also percussion instruments from India such together cymbals. At the court there to be nine musical ensembles (expanded from 7 in the Sui dynasty) representing music from throughout Asia.

There was an excellent contact with and interest in India as a hub for Buddhist knowledge, with famous travelers such as Xuanzang (d. 664) visiting the South eastern subcontinent. After a seventeen-year-long trip, Xuanzang controlled to bring back an important Sanskrit messages to be translated into Chinese. There was additionally a Turkic–Chinese dictionary available for serious scholars and also students, and also Turkic folksongs gave inspiration to some Chinese poetry. In the interior of China, profession was facilitated by the grand Canal and the flavor government’s rationalization the the higher canal device that reduced expenses of delivering grain and other commodities. The state additionally managed approximately 32,100 km (19,900 mi) of postal business routes through horse and boat.

The Silk Road

Although the Silk roadway from China come the West was initially formulated during the power of Emperor Wu (141–87 BCE) during the Han dynasty, it was reopened by the tang in 639 CE when Hou Junji (d. 643) overcame the West, and also remained open for nearly four decades. It was closed after ~ the Tibetans caught it in 678, but in 699, during Empress Wu’s period, that reopened as soon as the tang reconquered the four Garrisons that Anxi originally set up in 640, as soon as again connecting China straight to the West because that land-based trade.

The Silk roadway was the most essential pre-modern Eurasian trade route. The flavor dynasty established a second Pax Sinica and the Silk Road reached its golden age, through which Persian and also Sogdian merchants benefited indigenous the commerce between East and also West. At the exact same time, the Chinese empire welcomed international cultures, making it an extremely cosmopolitan in its city centers.

The Tang recorded the an essential route through the Gilgit valley from Tibet in 722, shed it to the Tibetans in 737, and also regained that under the command the the Goguryeo-Korean basic Gao Xianzhi. As soon as the one Lushan Rebellion finished in 763, the Tang realm had once again lost regulate over its west lands, as the Tibetan empire largely reduced off China’s direct accessibility to the Silk Road. An internal rebellion in 848 ousted the Tibetan rulers, and also Tang China regained that is northwestern prefectures indigenous Tibet in 851. This lands contained an essential grazing areas and also pastures because that raising steeds that the Tang dynasty desperately needed.

Despite the numerous western travelers coming right into China come live and also trade, plenty of travelers, mainly spiritual monks, videotaped the strict border legislations that the Chinese enforced. Together the monk Xuanzang and also many other monk travelers attested to, over there were countless Chinese government checkpoints along the Silk road where travel permits into the Tang realm were examined. Furthermore, banditry to be a difficulty along the checkpoints and also oasis towns, as Xuanzang additionally recorded that his team of travelers was assaulted by bandits on many occasions.

The Silk road also influenced Tang dynasty art. Horses came to be a far-reaching symbol the prosperity and also power and also an tool of military and diplomatic policy. Horses were likewise revered together a relative of the dragon.


Tang duration jar. A Tang period gilt-silver jar, shame in the style of northern nomad’s leather bag, decorated with a horse dancing through a cup of wine in its mouth, as the horses of Emperor Xuanzong to be trained come do.

Seaports and Maritime Trade

Chinese envoys had been cruising through the Indian ocean to India due to the fact that perhaps the second century BC, yet it was during the Tang dynasty that a strong Chinese maritime presence was found in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, into Persia, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Egypt, Aksum (Ethiopia), and also Somalia in the Horn that Africa.

During the flavor dynasty, countless foreigners came and lived in countless Chinese urban for trade and also commercial ties through China, including Persians, Arabs, Hindu Indians, Malays, Bengalis, Sinhalese, Khmers, Chams, Jews and Nestorian believer of the near East, and also many others. In 748, the buddhist monk Jian Zhen described Guangzhou as a bustling mercantile facility where many huge and impressive international ships pertained to dock.

During the one Lushan Rebellion Arab and also Persian pirates burned and looted Guangzhou in 758, and foreigners were massacred in ~ Yangzhou in 760. The Tang federal government reacted by shutting the harbor of Canton down for roughly five decades, and also foreign ship docked in ~ Hanoi instead. However, as soon as the harbor reopened it thrived. In 851 the Arab vendor Sulaiman al-Tajir it was observed the production of Chinese porcelain in Guangzhou and also admired the transparent quality. The also noted a summary of Guangzhou’s mosque, that granaries, its local government administration, several of its composed records, and also the therapy of travelers, in addition to the use of ceramics, rice-wine, and also tea. However, in an additional bloody episode at Guangzhou in 879, the Chinese rebel Huang Chao sacked the city and purportedly slaughtered thousands of native Chinese, in addition to foreign Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Muslims in the process. Huang’s rebellion was eventually suppressed in 884.

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The Chinese engaged in massive production for abroad export by at the very least the time the the Tang. This to be proven through the exploration of the Belitung shipwreck, a silt-preserved shipwrecked Arabian dhow in the Gaspar Strait close to Belitung, which had 63,000 piece of tang ceramics, silver, and gold. Start in 785, the Chinese began to contact regularly at Sufala top top the east African coast in order to reduced out Arab middlemen, v various modern Chinese resources giving in-depth descriptions of profession in Africa. In 863 the Chinese writer Duan Chengshi (d. 863) detailed a detailed summary of the slave trade, ivory trade, and also ambergris trade in a nation called Bobali, which chroniclers suggest was Berbera in Somalia. In Fustat (old Cairo), Egypt, the fame of Chinese ceramics there caused an enormous demand for Chinese goods; thus Chinese frequently traveled there. Throughout this time period, the Arab vendor Shulama created of his admiration for Chinese seafaring junks, but provided that their draft was also deep because that them to get in the Euphrates River, which forced them to ferry passengers and also cargo in small boats. Shulama also detailed that Chinese ships to be often really large, through capacities of approximately 600–700 passengers.