Faculty Publications

Title

Was Medieval China Medieval? (Post-Han to Mid-Tang)

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Aristocracy, Chen Yinke, Medieval, Naitō Torajirō, Northern and Southern Dynasties, Northern Wei, Six Dynasties, Sui, Tang, Three Kingdoms

Journal/Book/Conference Title

A Companion to Chinese History

First Page

106

Last Page

117

Abstract

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.

Original Publication Date

11-11-2016

DOI of published version

10.1002/9781118624593.ch9

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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