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China in the Middle Ages

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an, was built in AD 652 during the Tang dynasty, when the city was named Chang'an. It was...Read More >>The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an, was built in AD 652 during the Tang dynasty, when the city was named Chang'an. It was originally part of a Buddhist monastery. Buddhists texts and figurines (miniature statues) were stored inside. The end of the Han dynasty in AD 220 brought confusion to China, as nomads attacked from the north and the country split into three kingdoms. China was reunited again by the brief rule of the Sui dynasty (581-618) before the Tang and, later, the Song dynasties came to power. The Chinese Empire was constantly under threat from foreign enemies. The Mongols, a tribe of fierce nomadic warriors, invaded northern China in 1211. They were led by Genghis Khan. In 1279, his grandson Kublai Khan finally conquered all of China. He encouraged international trade and brought great wealth to the country.


 A model of a city in the district of Mingzhou during the Tang Dynasty. The model is displayed in Ningbo Museum Chang’an (modern-day Xi’an) was China’s first capital city. It was the capital of the Han, Sui and Tang empires. Exotic goods,...Read More >>Chang’an (modern-day Xi’an) was China’s first capital city. It was the capital of the Han, Sui and Tang empires. Exotic goods, such as silk, gold, silver and furs, were bought and sold in its bustling markets. It stood at the beginning of the Silk Road, a trading route between East and West, in central China. It had great palaces, fabulous pagodas and beautiful gardens.

Tang dynasty

The Tang dynasty came to power when Li Yuan seized power in 618. This dynasty lasted until 907 during which peace and prosperity returned to China. Sea trade flourished, and many ports became bustling centres of commerce. Chang’an attracted scholars, artists and poets from all parts of Asia. The Buddhist religion became increasingly important, and many shrines and temples were built, including the Giant Buddha at Leshan.
The Giant Buddha, in Leshan, Sichuan, China, constructed 713–803. It is 71 m (233 ft) high.
An Lushan

An Lushan Rebellion

The only woman ever to rule China in her own right was Wu Zetian, from AD 690 to 705. She was the concubine of Emperor Taizong, then married his son Emperor Gaozong. She took over after he fell ill.

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