Friday, April 4, 2014
Essay on the Impact of Tang-Sang Transition
Understanding the Impact of the Tang-Sang Transition
The valuable part in the expansion and modernization of ancient China happened in the Tang-Sang transition. This particular period saw the transformation of Chinese society as structures evolved and created new ways to adapt to the reality of life. Inclusive in these are political and ideological changes as well as economic revolution that opened up new opportunities for the Chinese. Similarly, it opened further engagement to civil society as the citizenry took advantage of the rapid technological and commercial growth. In seeking then to understand the Tang-Sung transition, elements related to civil service examinations, Sang commercial revolution and the rise of scholar officials must carefully be looked into.
One of the most notable differences between the Tang and Sang dynasties is the latter’s promotion of a competitive way for people to hold power. In order to gauge the capabilities of an individual, the civil service examinations were administered. Contrary to the Tang dynasty where majority of the Elite in the capital controlled the examinations, this changed during the Song dynasty (Tackett, 2010). It demonstrated a level of fairness and examinations were designed anonymously. The end result was for an increase in the number of passers. Equally, the geographic diversity of participants expanded allowing people from neighboring cities to take part. The change can also be attributed to the impact brought forward by the creation of a national school system. This meant that locals had more access to materials and texts to prepare them for the examinations. Such approach shifted the control of the elites and made it possible for localized participation to occur.
Arguably, the changes in the civil service systems also can be attributed as a catalyst for the Sang commercial revolution. Specifically, it comes from the necessary approach pursued by the Elite class. Since control cannot be maintained in the civil service sector, succeeding generations tried to diversify their approaches and sought to dwell in areas such as commerce, agriculture or ways to make money (Tackett, 2010). Arguably, this introduced a more formalized economic structure where expansion of businesses were introduced. This means increase and expansion of business networks as society sought goods that would satisfy the needs of the Chinese market. Moreover, the Song dynasty monetized the economy allowing trade to further prosper and encourage participation from different sectors of society. These changes remain to be apparent on agriculture as well as luxury trade both in China and with its neighbors.
Lastly, there is the corresponding rise of scholar officials. This again can be attributed to the advancement of the national schooling system. Such opportunities allowed scholars or ‘experts’ to take part in office. Such change clearly illustrates the shift of control from local elites whose generation held power in the Tang dynasty to individuals who have the specific skill sets to hold positions under the Song dynasty (Hon, 2006). Clearly, this shift influenced the manner that power is held. From a central point where elites from the capital held the position, it changed in the arrival of scholar officials. Specifically, the level of expanded to the periphery and became localized to people living outside of the city.
Overall, the Tang-Sung transition illustrates the transformation of China. The shifts created by the civil service examinations, commercial revolution and rise of scholar officials influenced the expansion of economic growth and the introduction of new political structures to address the changes in ideology as well as the manner that power is held by the elites. Clearly, such transformation demonstrates a critical part in China’s history as it embodies a direction from its medieval structure to a more complex and modernized way of life.
Tackett, Nick. Tang and Song China: Two Models of Empire. 2010 Available from
Hon, T. The Yijing and Chinese Politics: Classical Commentary and Literati Activism in
the Northern Song Period, 960-1127. 2006 SUNY Press; United States. Print