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The Tang dynasty and its place in the grand narrative of Chinese history

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Frank Wang.

The aim of the talk would be to describe the traditional image of the Tang dynasty (618-907 C.E.)as politically and militarily the most powerful and successful of China’s great dynasties and as a culturally brilliant epoch, contrasting with the ‘Dark Ages’ in Europe. I would characterize the main features of the political system and relative openness of Tang religion and culture. But I woulds also suggest that in fact Tang military power was only episodically successful, was limited,as in its attempts to invade Korea, and was not necessarily either permanent or preeminent in Central Asia. I would point out that the Tang period was never renowned for its philosophy. I would ask whether in fact the Tang achievements may lie elsewhere, in law and institutions, art and literature and in a rather specific contribution to the ideology of service to the dynastic state.

This talk is part of the China Research Seminar Series series.

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