The New International Encyclopædia/T’ang

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T’ANG, täng. One of the seven most celebrated dynasties of China. It lasted from 618 to 907 and was founded by Li Yuan, a soldier and a descendant of one of the princely houses, who, after a reign of eight years, during which many reforms were introduced, abdicated in favor of his second son, Li Shih-min, the real unifier of the Empire and the most illustrious of the T’ang rulers (627-649). With the twelfth Emperor decay began to set in and in 907 the line came to an end. In 923 a descendant of one of the T’ang emperors established the Posterior T’ang, which came to an end in 936 under its fourth Emperor.

The T’ang is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant periods of Chinese history. The Empire was extended to the Caspian Sea and China itself was divided into fifteen provinces. In 628 a maternal uncle of Mohammed visited China and built the mosque at Canton, and a century and a half later 4000 Mohammedan soldiers, whose descendants now form an important element of the population, settled in the country. Learning and literature were fostered, the Hanlin Yuan (q.v.) had its beginning, and Buddhism, Taoism, and even Nestorian Christianity flourished under Imperial patronage. Paper money was then first used and the Peking Gazette was founded.