Was Medieval China Medieval? (Post-Han to Mid-Tang)
Aristocracy, Chen Yinke, Medieval, Naitō Torajirō, Northern and Southern Dynasties, Northern Wei, Six Dynasties, Sui, Tang, Three Kingdoms
A Companion to Chinese History
After the fall of the Han dynasty in 220 CE, China experienced its most prolonged period of political division in two thousand years of imperial history. These centuries of division became a pivotal age of exceptional cultural openness, ethnic mixing, and creative innovation, which notably witnessed both the spread of Buddhism and the absorption and development of the Yangzi drainage basin in the south. In 589 China was then more or less permanently reunified, and under the Sui and Tang dynasties achieved a peak of regional influence and cultural splendor. The late Tang dynasty, however, after about 750, witnessed the beginning of profound changes that may have marked the end of an era. What to call this post-Han through mid-Tang era, and whether or not it should be considered 'medieval,' remains uncertain, however. This chapter argues that 'medieval'-at least as narrowly defined in terms of European-style feudalism-is not a very appropriate description.
Department of History
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Holcombe, Charles, "Was Medieval China Medieval? (Post-Han to Mid-Tang)" (2016). Faculty Publications. 1005.