The T’ang and Song Dynasties of China Global History and Geography I name

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The T’ang and Song Dynasties of China

Global History and Geography I Name: ___________________

E. Napp Date: ___________________
From 618 to 907 A.D., the T’ang dynasty ruled China. T’ang China was a golden age. T’ang rulers brought peace and prosperity to China. T’ang rulers even expanded into Korea, Manchuria, and parts of Central Asia. During the T’ang dynasty, China became the richest and most powerful country in the world.
In addition, the examination system was reestablished and Confucianism provided the empire with a guiding philosophy. Once again, civil servants took difficult tests in order to work in government. Of course, any Chinese man could take the test but those who passed the examination always had a good education which most poor men could not afford. Eventually, China had a ruling class of scholars.
There were great advances in architecture, sculpture, painting, and porcelain. The Chinese developed a unique method of gardening designed for peaceful contemplation – making use of streams, rocks, and trees. Around 1040 A.D., the Chinese invented printing. A craftsman or artisan carved Chinese characters on a block of wood. Then a printer covered the wooden surface with ink and pressed sheets of paper against it. The Chinese developed printing nearly 400 years before Europeans. Copies of Confucian texts could be printed.


  1. Why was the T’ang dynasty considered a golden age? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Describe the examination system of dynastic China. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. Describe the Chinese invention of printing. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. What were the dates of the T’ang dynasty? ________________________________________________________

The T’ang dynasty fell in 907 A.D. The Song dynasty arose soon afterwards to take its place. It lasted from 960 to 1279 A.D. Song China was the most advanced civilization of its time. Its capital city, Hangzhou, was one of the most modern cities of the world. The city had wide streets with streetlights. People cleaned these streets every day. It even had a fire department.
There were many inventions during the T’ang and Song dynasties. Gunpowder was invented but it was mostly used for fireworks. An Arab trader learned how to make gunpowder and introduced it to the Europeans. Since Song rulers were not interested in expanding their borders, they made little use of gunpowder. Of course, the Europeans used gunpowder when they developed guns and cannons.
The compass was invented in Song China. The compass allowed Chinese ships to travel far away. Finally, artists of Song China painted pictures that are considered masterpieces today. Song paintings seem nearly perfect and were painted on paper or silk scrolls. These paintings show people as small and unimportant. Nature – trees, mountains, and water – are most important. In addition, artisans of Song China made beautiful porcelain. This hard, shiny pottery was made from white clay that a potter bakes. Song artisans made thin porcelain bowls and vases. Eventually, the word china was used to describe this beautiful porcelain.


  1. Why was Song China considered the most advanced civilization of its time? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Describe Hangzhou. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. How did the Europeans learn about the Chinese invention of gunpowder? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. How did the Chinese use of gunpowder differ from the European use of gunpowder? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  5. Describe another invention of Song China. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  6. Describe the paintings produced during the Song dynasty. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  7. How did Chinese paintings differ from European paintings? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  8. Describe Chinese porcelain. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Word Bank:

Golden Age, Compass, Examination, Gunpowder, Printing, Porcelain, Nature, Song

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”


Which of these were invented in China?








If you answered all six, you are correct! These are all Chinese inventions. For example, the kite was invented in the 4th century B.C. Sometimes kites were used in war time to relay messages.

Which insect is the most important to the Chinese?




If you guessed silkworm, you are correct! The Chinese learned how to make silk over 4,000 years ago. They still follow the same process today, beginning with caterpillars. They feed the worms Mulberry leaves, until they get very fat. In a few weeks, the catepillars spin their cocoons. When the cocoons reach air, they change from a jelly like substance to a hard, puffy ball. After 8 or 9days, workers blow smoke on the cocoons to kill the catepillars. Next, workers put the cocoons in hot water to soften the shells, and begin to unravel them.
The umbrella was invented thousands of years ago. The earliest umbrellas were made to shade the user from the sun (an umbrella used as a sun shade is called a parasol). Umbrella were used as much a 4,000 years ago in ancient Assyria, China, Egypt, and Greece. The Chinese were probably the first to waterproof the umbrella for use in the rain; they used wax and lacquer (a type of paint) to repel the rain.

Taoist alchemists were some of the most important contributors to the invention of gunpowder. However, many different groups and individuals can be named as contributors to this invention. During the reign of Emperor Wu Di (156-87 B.C.) of the Han dynasty, extensive research was done on eternal life and some of the substances used by the alchemists were sulphur and saltpeter, and as a result many fires were started. By the 8th century in the Tang dynasty, sulphur and saltpeter were combined with charcoal and alchemists discovered an explosive mixture which was called huoyao or gunpowder.



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