The Tang Dynasty is perhaps one of the most renowned dynasties in Chinese history for several reasons, most of which relate to the prominence that it led China to during its reign. With its capital at Chang’an, it had the most highly populated capital during its time and was even considered to have surpassed the Han Dynasty. It was said that the Tang Dynasty had been so prominent that it rivaled the later Yuan and Qing Dynasties in not only military prowess but also from a cultural perspective. It was also during this period that trade was greatly increased between mainland china’s different markets, as facilitated by the construction of the Grand Canal of China. With a population of over fifty (50) million people, the Tang Dynasty was able to accomplish several feats that will be forever remembered in Chinese history.
The Tang Dynasty utilized the large population that it had well in order to boost its military campaigns. The large armies that were conscripted during this period were influential in establishing the foothold that the Tang Dynasty had Inner Asia. This also helped proliferate and encourage trade along the Silk Road; the control that the Tang Dynasty had over trade and Inner Asia made it possible for it to collect tribute from various kingdoms and states within the area. The protectorate system that it instituted through its army enabled it to exert a considerable amount of influence over other neighboring states such as Korea and Japan.
Other contributions that the Tang Dynasty was known for include the progress and stability that other Dynasties were not able to provide. The key to this stability was the civil service system that was instituted through a drafting method and standardized examinations. This gave rise to a civil order that allowed China to flourish culturally and economically. This allowed for an efficient administration of the Silk Road which facilitated the transfer of many new technologies, cultural practices and novel items. The trade that occurred among the countries of the Middle East, India, Persia and Central Asia also made it easier for the Tang Dynasty to develop new techniques that brought about a new age of progress for China.
More specifically, the Silk Road made the transfer of knowledge and information possible. There was a lot of trade with India, which was known as the center for Buddhism, that allowed a number of valuable Sanskrit texts to be converted into Chinese. Since there was a Grand Canal that was built the cultural influences moved freely within inner china leaving its mark in everything from songs, dances, and new musical instruments. The influence was pervasive as it had contributions to much of the works of many Chinese artists and scholars, further enriching the already rich tapestry of culture that China had at this time.
The Tang Dynasty was also known for the contributions to the arts and culture. Historical poets such as Du Fu and Li Bai made several works that are still recognized and read in modern Chinese culture. Other poets such as Meng Haoran, Du Mu and Bai Juyi were also regarded as having contributed to the historical literature and encyclopedias that were compiled during the Tang Dynasty.
Other technological contributions made during the Tang Dynasty include the development of woodblock printing, which was also an information technology breakthrough, the creation of the escapement mechanism in horology, advances in material medicas, cartography, and even in the innovations in hydraulics to create air conditioning fans. On top of this, there were also other developments in clockworks. Other developments include advances in architecture that is evidenced by the technical treatise. From a scientific perspective, there were also innovations in alchemy such as the creation of several creams and varnishes and also the perfection of making porcelain. This also led to the creation of new methods to improve harvest of not only crops but other commodities such as salt.