Religion, Social class, & Culture

Tang Dynasty

Religion

Buddhism

Buddhism had been the most popular during the Tang dynasty. Buddhist monasteries gathered a lot of grain, land, and valuable metals. Emperor Goazong respected the monk Xunazang because he admired the fact that monk Xunazang had been to India to learn more about Buddhist sutras.

On the right is a portrait of the monk Xunasang.

Confucianism

Confucianism had lived long before Buddhism had been brought to the Tang dynasty. Confucianism was something to live by for the rulers of China. It taught them to look after the people that they rule over and to be kind and honorable. It acted as a guide for the rulers and taught the people how to live with happiness and well-being in their life.

Social class

There were eight social classes in the Tang dynasty.

1. The emperor and his family
2. The aristocracy
3. The bureaucracy
4. eunuchs (a man who may have been castrated early enough in his life to have hormone changes)
5. clergy (formal leaders of a religion)
6. peasants
7. artisans and traders
8. slaves

Culture

The Tang dynasty's culture made a big impact on the way musicians were treated. They were given importance because of what they made and how people could play to the music. The most popular instruments at the time were bells, zithers, stone chimes, flutes, and drums. The Tang dynasty was very open to foreign cultures. Dressed up girls would dance to western music.

Art

Poetry, Sculptures, and paintings were very important to the Tang dynasty.
Sculptures of lord Buddha were very popular at the time along with paintings of lord Buddha too. Painters were highly respected by the people. The most famous painters in the period of the tang dynasty were Yan Liben and Wu Daozi.

Poetry

Poetry was very important to the Tang dynasty. With the short but vivid descriptions they liked to hear the stories that one could tell in so little words. Two very famous poets from the Tang dynasty were Du Fu and Li Bai.
This is one poem by Du Fu translated by W.J.B. Fletcher in 1919.

《旅夜書懷》
杜甫
細草微風岸,危檣獨夜舟。
星垂平野闊,月湧大江流。
名豈文章著,官應老病休。
飄飄何所似?天地一沙鷗。

My Reflection by Night
by Du Fu
Some scattered grass. A shore breeze blowing light.
A giddy mast. A lonely boat at night.
The wide-flung stars o’erhang all vasty space.
The moonbeams with the Yangtze’s current race.
How by my pen can I to fame attain?
Worn out, from office better to refrain.
Drifting o’er life — and what in sooth am I?
A sea-gull floating twixt the Earth and Sky.