ChAPTER 17 -- Part 2: Reunification and Renaissance in
The Tang armies conquered central Asia and Afghanistan.
Many of the nomadic peoples who dominated China in the Six Dynasties era had to submit to Tang rule because of these victories.
The Tang emperors created frontier armies after completing repairs to the northern walls.
The frontier forces were partly recruited from Turkic nomadic peoples.
The sons of Turkic tribal leaders were sent to the capital as hostages to ensure good behavior in the tribe.
They were educated in Chinese ways at the Tang capital in the hopes of becoming Chinese.
The empire was extended to parts of Tibet in the west, the Red River valley homeland of the Vietnamese in the south, and Manchuria in the north.
For the first time since the Han, north and south China were integrated in the Tang period.
Korea was overrun by Chinese armies in 668 and a vassal kingdom called Silla was established that was loyal to the Tang.
The Tang empire was much larger than that of the early Han empire, which stretched beyond the borders of present-day China.
central roles in the process were played by a revived scholar-gentry elite and reworked Confucian ideol ogy.
The fortunes of the scholar-gentry began to improve after the second Sui emperor, Yangdi.
The early Tang emperors desperately needed loyal and well-educated officials to govern the vast empire they had put together in a matter of decades.
The scholar-gentry bureaucrats were used by the Tang rulers to counterbalance the power of the aristocracy.
The role of the aristocratic families in Chinese history was reduced as their control over court life and administration declined.
Political power in China was shared by the imperial families and bureaucrats of the civil service.
The bureaucracy went from the imperial palace down to the district level, which was roughly equivalent to an American county.
One secretariat drafted imperial decrees and the other monitored the reports of regional and provincial officials.
The empire was run by the executive department on a day-to-day basis.
The Tang emperors used academies to train state officials and educate them in the Confucian classics, which were thought to teach moral and organizational principles essential to effective administrators.
The educated scholar-gentry rose far above those in the Han era in the Tang and Song dynasties.
The pattern of advancement in the civil service was regularized in the Tang and Song periods.
The Chinese connected merit as measured by tests to students from skills with authority and status.
Only those who passed exams on legal classics at the highest imperial or metropolitan level could gain the highest offices.
Their names were announced throughout the empire, and their families' to students who passed the most positions were secured because of their success.
Even their former friends and fellow students all of Chinese literature became addressed formally and treated with deference after they were transformed into dignitaries over difficult Chinese examination on night.
Success in exams at all levels made candidates eligible for social status.
They were given the right to wear certain types of clothing because they were for high office.
Birth and family connections were still important in securing high office despite a higher proportion of Tang bureaucrats winning their positions through success in civil service exams.
The document feature shows some of the relationships illustrated by the petition.
Even failed candidates from their families were able to get into the imperial academies because of the established bureaucrats.
Staffing bureaucratic departments was influenced by ethnic and regional ties.
Although bright commoners could rise to upper-level positions in the bureaucracy, the central administration was overwhelmingly domi nated by a small number of established families.
A disproportionate share of the places available in the imperial academies were bought by prominent households and sons followed fathers in positions of power and influence.
The old aristocracy and the low ranking sons and grandsons of lesser wives and concubines of the imperial household were given many positions.
Birth and family influence are often more important than Merit and ambition.
Board games and musical recitals were highly esteemed leisure activities for the scholar-gentry class, as shown in this ink drawing of Chinese philosophers of the Song dynasty.
Members of the scholar-gentry elite can go to mountains to meditate, attend poetry reading or writing parties, or paint the plum trees in their gardens.
The highly educated elite admired those who pursued a variety of activities at leisure.
There is a longstanding problem of defining the boundaries between established religions and the state of Chinese society.
Zen Buddhists are strong patrons of the Buddhist establishment.
Buddhism flourished in China after the fall of the Han in Japan.
Chinese monks were the most popular because of their appreciation of natural and artistic part.
Zen had great appeal for the educated classes of China because of its stress on meditation and appreciation of natural and artistic beauty.
The goal of those who followed Chan was to come to know the ultimate wisdom, and thus find release from the cycle of rebirth.
The nature of this level of con sciousness was often expressed in poetic metaphors and riddles.
There is no limit to the power of wisdom.
It can see, hear, understand, and know.
It can do all of these, but is always empty and tranquil.