隋唐概述 The Heyday of Feudal Society ——The Sui and Tang Dynasties
From the 6th to the 10th centuries, China was once more united, under the Sui and Tang dynasties. In 581, Yang Jian usurped the throne of Northern Zhou, and established the Sui Dynasty. Yang Jian reigned as Emperor Wendi of Sui. In 589, Sui conquered the Chen Dynasty, and reunified the northern and southern parts of the country. In 618, a peasant uprising brought about the end of Sui, with the death of Emperor Yangdi. Li Yuan, a powerful Sui official, and his sons, established the Tang Dynasty. The period from the reign of Emperor Taizong (r. 627-649 AD) to the early part of the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712-756 AD) is called the time of the "Benign Administration of the Zhenguan Reign Period" and the "Flourishing Kaiyuan Reign Period",Zhenguan and Kaiyuan being the reign titles of emperors Taizong and Xuanzong, respectively. The territory ruled by the Tang Dynasty was broader than that of any of the previous dynasties. It reached the East China Sea in the east, extended to the islands in the South China Sea in the south, bordered Lake Balkhash in today's Kazakhstan in the west and extended as far as the Outer Hinggan Mountains in the northeast.
During the Sui and Tang dynasties, the economy of China prospered, exchanges with the outside world were frequent, and glorious scientific and cultural achievements appeared. Calligraphy, painting and sculpture flourished in the Tang Dynasty. In particular, Tang Dynasty poetry is regarded as the acme of this genre, represented by the poets Li Bai and Du Fu. In the field of prose literature, Han Yu and Liu Zongyuan were outstanding. Tang was one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world at that time.
The burgeoning economy and culture of the Sui and Tang dynasties influenced the whole of Asia, especially the countries in East Asia. Chang'an, the capital city of the Tang Dynasty, was not only the political center of China at that time, it was also one of the centers for economic and cultural exchanges in the whole Asian region. Because of the Tang Dynasty's enormous international influence, Chinese people were called the "people of Tang" by their neighbors.