Tang and Song Dynasties

The Tang and Song Chinese Dynasties shared much in common and both were
periods of social, cultural, and political blossoming. The Tang period,
which ran approximately from 618-907 CE, immediately preceded the Song,
which lasted from 960-1279, but was split into two distinct periods, the
Northern Song and Southern Song Dynasties. During both periods, China saw a
flourishing of the arts, from painting to poetry. The Song period continued
the political unification of China that began with the Tang dynasty; both
periods established China’s cohesiveness as a political entity. Both Tang
and Song Dynasties arose out of military and political conflict and
contributed to peace and reunification.
The Tang and Song Dynastic periods both contributed to the flowering
of Chinese culture and society, but the two successive dynasties did differ
in several areas. Until its downfall due to military uprisings, the Tang
Dynasty was generally more stable politically than the Song. However, both
periods were relatively peaceful in Chinese history. A key difference
between the Tang and Song dynasties is that Buddhism spread rapidly during
the Tang period, and Chinese arts, as well as social, political, and
religious life, were influenced by the teachings of Buddhism. On the
contrary, Buddhism suffered a decline during the subsequent Song period,
during which Confucianism rose to the fore. Confucianism pervaded all
aspects of Chinese life during the Song period, from political to family
life; Confucianism changed Chinese identity and worldview.
Both the Tang and the Song Dynasties bore witness to technological and
scientific advances: block printing was invented during the Tang, while
gunpowder, saltpeter, and fireworks were invented during the Song period.
During both Tang and Song periods, the arts flourished especially
literature and painting. The Tang and Song dynasties both arose from


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