Around 600 CE, the Tang Dynasty reunited China, ending the Age of Division.
The Tang Dynasty encouraged literature, dancing, music, scroll painting, and art. Craftsmen worked with bronze, silver, gold, and copper. Pottery was painted with ornate scenes of daily life, and of carriages, bridges, and signs of the zodiac. People came from far away India and Korea to study the arts.
Under Tang leadership, one needed to pass an examination to get a job. Those who passed were assigned a position in the capital or in one of the many smaller towns in the countryside.
Under Tang leadership, only boys could go to school, which were free. Girls were taught at home. When a girl married, she lived with her husband's family.
People believed and followed all three doctrines of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism at the same time, and also worshiped their ancestors. There were many festivals and holidays.
The capital city of Ch'ang-an was home to over one million people. The city was arranged in 110 blocks, each considered its own village. There were apartment houses, temples, a marketplace, and little shops for tea, cake, pottery, jewelry, shoes, fresh produce, meat, noodles, and pawnbrokers. There were street acrobats, storytellers, colorful banners, and street bazaars. The pagoda roof became popular on temples and homes.
Musical and art performances were free. Some concerts were huge, with 700 musicians playing together. Others were concerts of nature, including the bird concert where people gathered to listen to wild birds chirping and singing. The men enjoyed hunting, fishing, polo, and a kind of football.
Women wore little hats with bells, and they carried little makeup boxes. Men shaved their heads except for the hair right in the center, which they wrapped up in a knot and secured with hairpins. Shoes were a status symbol: peasants wore straw sandals and nobles wore cloth slippers. Much of the colorful clothing was made of silk. They wore jade belts and fancy hats.
Most people were farmers. The early Tangs took land from the nobles and gave each peasant approximately 15 acres. In the countryside, one-room homes were made of bamboo and sundried brick. Families of farmers ate very well from their own produce. Some families worked together to grow crops more efficiently.
Nomads’ homes were huts on wagons that could move from place to place. They kept herds of goats, sheep, and cattle. They traded for other food along the Silk Road. Their clothes were made of animal skins.
Source: Tang Dynasty 600 C.E.–900 C.E.
All Rights Reserved Written by Lin Donn