The Tang and Song Dynasties

Standards-Based Instruction
The Tang and Song
Reading Preview
Standards at a Glance
Students learned about the Aztec civilization in the previous chapter. In this
section, students will explore the great
accomplishments of the Tang and Song
dynasties in China.
H-SS 7.3.1 Describe the
reunification of China under
the Tang Dynasty and reasons
for the spread of Buddhism in
Tang China, Korea, and
H-SS 7.3.6 Describe the
development of the imperial
state and the scholar-official
Section Focus Question
How did the Tang and Song
dynasties strengthen China?
Before you begin the lesson for the day,
write the Section Focus Question on the
board. (Lesson focus: The Tang and Song
dynasties brought stable government, economic
growth, and a focus on arts and literature to
H-SS Historical
Interpretation 2 Students
understand and distinguish
cause, effect, sequence, and
correlation in historical
events, including the longand short-term causal
Reading Skill
Understand Sequence In this
section, you will read about
several dynasties that ruled in
ancient China. Understanding
the sequence of rule in these
dynasties is critical to fully
understanding the history.
Look for verbs that indicate
sequence, such as led. Look
for dates that indicate when
different rulers and dynasties
had power. Look for named
time periods.
Vocabulary Builder
High-Use Words
subtle (SUHT uhl), p. 270
minimize (MIHN ih mìz), p. 271
Key Terms and People
Tang Taizong (tahng tì
dzuhng), p. 268
bureaucracy (byoo RAH kruh
see), p. 269
Empress Wu (woo), p. 269
Li Bo (lee boh), p. 270
scholar-official (SKAHL uhr uh
FIHSH uhl), p. 271
merit system (MER iht SIHS
tuhm), p. 272
urbanization (er buh nih ZAY
shuhn), p. 273
Prepare to Read
Build Background
Background Knowledge China is one of the world’s
Review the concept of dynasty by reminding students of the Muslim dynasties (the
Umayyads and the Abbasids) that they
read about in Chapter 4. Ask: What is a
dynasty? (a family that holds political power
over several generations) Remind students,
too, that these dynasties ultimately failed
to keep control of the vast Muslim Empire.
Ask: Why is a strong government important in a vast empire? (Possible answer: A
vast empire is spread out and might include a
variety of cultures. A strong government is
needed to unite, control, and protect a vast
empire.) Explain that students now will
learn about the dynastic system in ancient
Set a Purpose
Read each statement in the Reading
Readiness Guide aloud. Ask students to
mark the statements true or false.
Have students discuss the statements in
pairs or groups of four and then mark
their worksheets again. Use the Numbered Heads strategy (TE p. T38) to call
on students to share their group’s perspectives. The students will return to
these worksheets later.
268 Chapter 10
The Splendor of the Tang
After the Tang Dynasty unified
China, their capital city
became a rich center for trade
and the arts flourished.
The fall of the Han Dynasty in A.D. 220 left China divided
into separate kingdoms. Finally, in 618, a new dynasty, the
Tang, rose up to reunite China. The Tang ruled for nearly
300 years. They expanded the nation’s borders and built a
strong central government.
The Tang Rulers A military leader known as Tang
Taizong founded the Tang Dynasty. Over many years, armies
led by Taizong reunited China. Taizong also brought stable
government back to China.
Teaching Resources, Unit 5,
Reading Readiness Guide, p. 15
oldest civilizations. More than 2,000 years ago, the Han
Dynasty made China into a vast empire. But, eventually, the
Han, too, fell from power. In this section, you will read about
the development of China under the Tang and Song dynasties.
268 Chapter 10 China’s Golden Age
Universal Access
L1 English Language Learners
L1 Less Proficient Readers
Mastering Vocabulary Have students
make a list of this section’s high-use words
and key terms and people. Then, have
them create flashcards with the word on
one side and its definition (or, in the case of
key people, a one-sentence identifying
statement) on the other. Partners can use
flashcards to quiz each other.
L1 Special Needs
Tracking Sequence To help students
remember the order of events in Section 1,
ask them to create a timeline of the important dates, starting with A.D. 618 (the start
of the Tang Dynasty) and continuing to
A.D. 1127 (the beginning of the Southern
Song era). Students should annotate key
dates with explanatory details.
Taizong brought stability to his empire by reviving China’s
official bureaucracy. A bureaucracy is a system of government with many departments and bureaus, all headed by
appointed officials. Each official has a rank and fixed responsibilities. Taizong’s goal in setting up this bureaucracy was to
create an efficient government. He was so successful that some
historians today view him as China’s greatest emperor.
Other strong rulers followed. One, Empress Wu, was the
only woman emperor in Chinese history. To many Chinese,
having a woman rule was as unnatural as having a “hen crow
like a rooster.” To challenge such beliefs, the empress worked
to raise the position of women. She had scholars write biographies of famous women. She also argued that the ideal ruler
cares for the people like a mother cares for her children.
The Splendor of the
H-SS 7.3.1; HI 2
High-Use Words Before teaching this
section, preteach the high-use words
subtle and minimize, using the strategy
on TE p. 267.
Key Terms Following the instructions
on p. 7, have students create a See It–
Remember It chart for the key terms in
this section.
The Tang Capital The Tang established their capital in
Chang’an (chahng ahn). Under their rule, Chang’an became a
great city. With a population of about 2 million, it was the largest city in the world. A million people crowded within the city
walls, and another million lived just outside.
Read The Splendor of the Tang with
students, using the Structured Silent
Reading strategy (TE p. T36).
Ask: How did Tang Taizong bring stability to China? (He revived China’s beaurocracy.) Why do some historians consider him China’s greatest emperor?
(because he created a vast, efficient government)
When students have read about
Empress Wu, ask: Why did many Chinese worry that she would weaken
rather than strengthen China? (As a
woman, people thought she was an “unnatural” ruler.) How did Empress Wu show
personal strength? (Possible answer: by
standing up for women and trying to make
people appreciate the contributions of
China Under the Tang and Song Dynasties
ng R
Song Dynasty, 1100
Silk Road
Tang capital
0 miles
Azimuthal Equal-Area Projection
0 km
Song capital
Grand Canal
Great Wall
Tang Dynasty, 660
Vocabulary Builder
This map shows the areas controlled by the Tang and Song dynasties at
the height of their power.
(a) Locate Describe Chang'an's location in relation to the Silk Road.
(b) Draw Conclusions Why would this city be important both politically
and economically?
For: Interactive map
Web Code: mxp-5101
Section 1 The Tang and Song Dynasties
History Background
Big Wild Goose Pagoda The Big Wild
Goose Pagoda in Chang’an is one of the
best-known Buddhist pagodas in China.
Begun in A.D. 589 as a place to store and
translate hundreds of volumes of Buddhist
scriptures brought to China from India, the
pagoda was completed in A.D. 652. It was
built of brick, without mortar, and stood
five stories in height. During the Tang era,
everyone who passed the civil service
examinations was required to climb up the
pagoda and write a poem or other inscription on it. This tradition symbolized the
hope of a successful government career.
Although much of the original pagoda has
been destroyed and renovated, many of
the old inscriptions still can be read today.
(a) It is at the start of the
Silk Road. (b) Trade caravans started and
ended there.
Chapter 10 Section 1 269
Chang’an may also have been the largest planned city ever built. It was laid out
in the form of a square. Its avenues and
streets formed a grid pattern. Two large
markets were located on opposite sides of
the city. Great homes, temples, and gardens stood inside the walls. The imperial
palace lay at the end of a broad avenue
leading to the city’s main gate. It was a
sight designed to impress visitors with
the power and magnificence of the Tang
Chang’an was a thriving cultural and
commercial center. People from all over
Asia came there to trade. Turks, Indians,
Persians, Koreans, Jews, and other visitors filled its streets and markets. Camels
carried goods out of the city along the Silk
Road. Actors, musicians, and other performers provided public entertainment.
Instruction (continued)
Ask: What was one purpose of the
design of Chang’an? (to attract visitors
and commerce)
At this point, distribute the Primary
Source worksheet Descriptions of
Chang’an to students. After students
have completed it, ask: How do Lu Zhaolin’s words reflect the glory of the
Tang era? (They describe a place of grandeur and great beauty.) At this time, you
may also assign the worksheet Map of
Chang’an (see Universal Access activity
Teaching Resources, Unit 5,
Descriptions of Chang’an, p. 19; Map of
Chang’an, p. 18
Discuss the Art and Literature subsection with students. Ask: Why were Chinese artists and writers able to focus on
their work during the Tang era? (Possible answer: China was peaceful and well
organized, leaving surplus time and energy
for the arts.)
Independent Practice
Have students begin to fill in the Interactive Reading and Notetaking Study Guide.
What ideas
inspired the
poetry of Li Bo?
Fast Facts
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Who: Li Bo
Li Bo
What: Poet
When: 701–762
Where: Tang China
Why important: He was one of China’s greatest
Fast Find
How: Go online to find out about the
philosophy and life of Li Bo.
For: More about Li Bo
Web Code: mxe-5101
Vocabulary Builder
subtle (SUHT uhl) adj. delicate;
finely detailed
Interactive Reading and Notetaking Study Guide, Chapter 10, Section 1
(Adapted version also available.)
Monitor Progress
was a golden age for Chinese arts and literature. Artists created fine paintings in
subtle colors. Potters turned clay into
beautiful ceramic pieces. The best works were glazed pottery
figures of horses, camels, and other subjects. Tang architects
and sculptors designed inspiring Buddhist temples and decorated them with statues.
The Tang period is also considered the greatest era of Chinese poetry. One of the most famous poets was Li Bo. He typically wrote in a playful, easygoing style. As this poem suggests,
one of his favorite subjects was the beauty of nature.
As students fill in the Interactive Reading
and Notetaking Study Guide, circulate to
make sure individuals understand the role
of the Tang Dynasty in the history of China. Provide assistance as needed.
Art and Literature The Tang era
Sunlight steams the river stones.
From high above, the river steadily plunges—
three thousand feet of sparkling water—
the Milky Way pouring down from Heaven.
—Li Bo, “Waterfall at Lu-shan”
How did the capital at Chang’an reflect Tang power
and success?
270 Chapter 10 China’s Golden Age
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L1 English Language Learners
He was inspired by
nature and landscapes.
It was a well-organized and
thriving city.
270 Chapter 10
L1 Special Needs
Using Paired Worksheets To enhance student understanding of the city of
Chang’an, assign the worksheet Map of
Chang’an. Tell students they should be
prepared to contribute to the class discussion on this topic. As students complete
the worksheet individually or with part-
L1 Less Proficient Readers
ners, monitor their responses to the worksheet questions. Then, as part of a class
discussion, ask students to describe the
basic shape of the city. (square)
Teaching Resources, Unit 5,
Map of Chang’an, p. 18
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Tang Art
The Tang Dynasty is known
for its colorful glazedpottery figures, such as the
warrior, camel carrying trade
goods, and female musician.
Critical Thinking: Evaluate
Information What do these
figurines reveal about
everyday life in Tang China?
The Song Era of Good Government
Eventually, the Tang Dynasty collapsed. After a period of
unrest, a new dynasty arose. This new ruling family was called
the Song. The Song Dynasty ruled China for more than
300 years, from 960 to 1279. For much of that time, barbarian
tribes threatened China’s northern borders. To minimize conflict, the Song pulled back from border areas. Instead, they
focused on the Chinese heartland and southern China.
The Song Dynasty was
governed by civil servants
chosen for their abilities rather
than for their wealth or status.
The Song Era of Good
H-SS 7.3.6
Read The Song Era of Good Government aloud with students. Remind students to look for support of the main
Ask: How did government officials
qualify for their jobs during the Song
era? (They had to pass a test.) Remind
students that the exams were an expansion of a practice begun under previous
dynasties. Ask: How was this system
different from those of the past? (The
system was based on merit rather than on
wealth or social class.) Then, ask: How did
the Song government ensure honesty
in its scholar-officials? (The government
forbade these officials from serving in their
home districts, and it made them change jobs
every three years.) Discuss with students
the fact that these practices helped
strengthen China’s government.
Vocabulary Builder
minimize (MIHN uh m¯ z) v. to
reduce to as little or as few as
The Scholar-Official Class The Song period was an
era of good government. Song rulers depended on a class of
scholar-officials to run China’s bureaucracy. These were
highly educated civil servants who entered government only
after passing special examinations. Earlier dynasties had
hired officials based on their wealth or status.
The use of civil service examinations began during the Han
Dynasty. It was later revived by the Tang and expanded by the
Song. Every year, the government held exams for people who
wanted to become officials. The tests were tough, and few students passed. Those who did qualified for government jobs.
Section 1 The Tang and Song Dynasties
History Background
The Song Civil Service Examination The
civil service exam was a long and very
competitive test. Candidates had to memorize the Five Classics of Confucius, interpret them, and create political advice
based on them. By the time of the Song
Dynasty, only wealthy men could afford to
spend the time and money needed to prepare for the exam. (Women were permitted
to take the exam only during the reign of
the Tang Empress Wu.) People who took
the test were assigned numbers. The tests
were graded without names to ensure fairness. The few who passed the first exam
then had to take a second test at the capital
city. About 200 people a year, or 15 to 20
percent of those who took it, passed the
second test.
Evaluate Information Possible answer:
Life was rich and diverse.
Chapter 10 Section 1 271
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Instruction (continued)
Make sure that students understand
what is meant by the term merit system.
Ask: Is the merit system the way that
most people today advance at work?
Explain. (Students should realize that most
workers today advance because superiors
recognize their talents and skills. Students
may base their explanations on real-life
examples of people they know who have
received merit pay raises or promotions.)
How might a focus on merit improve
quality? (By hiring and promoting based
on merit, good performance would be
encouraged and poor performance would be
weeded out.)
Ask: In what way did the scholarofficials and the emperor help China
by helping each other? (Possible answer:
The emperor promoted the scholar-officials;
the scholar-officials supported the emperor
and became closer to him. This arrangement
made for a tightly knit government, which
was to the benefit of China.)
Independent Practice
The Song Civil Service
The silk painting at right
shows students taking the civil
service exam required for
government jobs. The cloth
badge at left indicated a civil
servant’s rank. Critical
Thinking: Link Past and
Present Are there any exams
today that are as important to
a person’s future as the civil
service exams of Song China?
Have students complete the Interactive
Reading and Notetaking Study Guide.
(Adapted version available.)
Monitor Progress
Tell students to fill in the last column of the
Reading Readiness Guide. Probe for what
they learned that confirms or invalidates
each statement.
Teaching Resources, Unit 5,
Reading Readiness Guide, p. 15
HI 2 Understand
According to this
paragraph, what two
processes were happening in
China at the same time?
China’s scholar-officials were monitored to make sure they
were honest and efficient. They could not serve in their home
district, where they might feel pressure to do favors for family
and friends. They had to change jobs every three years, so that
they could not build up too much power in one place. In this
way, Song civil servants avoided corruption in government.
The Merit System Under the Song, China developed a
merit system for choosing and promoting civil servants. A merit
system is a process for hiring and promoting people based
on talent and skills, rather than on wealth or social status.
Scholar-officials who performed well moved up in the government bureaucracy. They enjoyed great prestige in society. Their
promotions also guaranteed continuing good government.
The rise of the scholar-official class was paralleled by an
increase in the emperor’s power. As you may recall, the
emperor ruled under the Mandate of Heaven. In theory, this
meant that he was an all-powerful ruler with heavenly support. In practice, most early emperors had needed the backing
of nobles and warlords to stay in power.
By promoting the scholar-official class, the emperor developed his own base of loyal supporters. As the scholar-officials
gained power, they pushed aside the noble families. Nobles
whose power had come from close alliances with the emperor
in the past soon found that power reduced. At the same time,
the emperor became more and more isolated, until only his top
officials could approach him. Over time, the scholar-official
class became the highest ranking group in Chinese society.
272 Chapter 10 China’s Golden Age
Universal Access
Link Past and Present Possible answer:
The SATs are as important, since many jobs
and careers require a college education and
people cannot get into college unless they
take the SATs.
Reading Skill The scholar-official
class was gaining prestige at the same time
that the emperor was gaining power.
272 Chapter 10
L3 Advanced Readers
L3 Gifted and Talented
Interviewing Emperors Ask pairs of students to choose an emperor from Section 1
(Tang Taizong or Empress Wu) or an
emperor who is not specifically named in
the text, such as Chao K’uang-yin, who
became Song Taizu, the first of the Song
rulers. Instruct students to conduct
research and use their findings to prepare
a set of interview questions and answers
about the emperor. Each interview should
include a variation of the Section Focus
Question: How did the Tang and Song
dynasties strengthen China? Invite students to present their interviews in class.
The Shift to the South Good government led to economic growth under the Song. Along with economic growth
came urbanization, or the growth of cities. By 1100, Song
China had several cities with a population of one million or
more. Many of these cities were in southern China, south of the
Chang River, which is also known as the Yangtze.
The Southern Song period began in 1127. In this year, after
a barbarian invasion, the Song Dynasty withdrew from northern China and shifted its capital south to the city of Hangzhou
(hahng joh). Hangzhou was a major port and trading center. A
European visitor wrote that Hangzhou was “the first, the biggest, the richest, the most populous, and altogether the most
marvelous city that exists on the face of the earth.”
Assess and Reteach
Assess Progress
Have students complete Check Your
Progress. Administer the Section Quiz.
Teaching Resources, Unit 5,
Section Quiz, p. 23
To further assess student understanding,
use the Progress Monitoring Transparency.
Progress Monitoring Transparencies, Chapter 10, Section 1
In what way was the Song era a period of good
read about the Tang and Song dynasties. You learned that they
united China under an efficient bureaucracy. In the next section, you will read about religion and thought during the Tang
and Song eras.
1 Check Your Progress
H-SS: 7.3.1, 7.3.6; HI 2
and Critical Thinking
1. (a) Describe Describe three
Tang achievements in architecture and the arts.
(b) Draw Inferences What
might be the connection
between the Tang bureaucracy and progress in the arts?
2. (a) Recall Who ran the
Song government?
(b) Explain How were the
people who ran the government selected?
(c) Analyze Cause and
Effect How did the Song
bureaucracy increase the
emperor’s power?
Reading Skill
Interactive Reading and
Notetaking Study Guide, Chapter 10,
Section 1 (Adapted version also available.)
For: Self-test with instant help
Web Code: mxa-5101
3. Understand Sequence
Reread the first paragraph
under the heading The Shift
to the South. Which came
first: efficient government
or economic growth and
Vocabulary Builder
If students need more instruction, have
them read this section in the Interactive
Reading and Notetaking Study Guide and
complete the accompanying question.
Looking Back and Ahead In this section, you have
5. Plan a topic for a research
paper on the Tang and Song
dynasties. Choose an idea
from this section that you
would like to learn more
about. Write a working thesis statement—a sentence
that states the main idea of
your paper.
4. Write two definitions for
each of the following terms:
bureaucracy, merit system,
urbanization. First, write a
formal definition for your
teacher. Second, write a definition in everyday English
for a classmate.
Section 1 The Tang and Song Dynasties
Have students use the library or Internet to
learn more about Chinese art of the Tang
and Song eras. Students should work to
create a short scrapbook of work typical of
this era, including captions that explain
each piece’s significance. Students should
present their scrapbooks to the class.
For: Help in starting the Extend
Web Code: mxe-1050
Section 1 Check Your Progress
1. (a) paintings, ceramics, and poetry
(b) Possible answer: The government
valued the arts and provided time to
artists to pursue their crafts.
2. (a) the scholar-official class
(b) They took an exam.
(c) The scholar-officials were loyal to
the emperor.
3. efficient government
Writing Rubrics Share rubrics with students before they write their thesis statements.
4. Answers will vary but should reflect
understanding of terms.
Score 1 Thesis statement is incomplete or fails to address a main idea in Section 1.
Score 2 Thesis statement attempts to address a key idea in Section 1 but does so in
5. Students’ thesis statements should state
a vague or unclear manner.
Score 3 Thesis statement states a key idea from Section 1 and is relatively clear.
Score 4 Thesis statement focuses on a main idea from Section 1 and states it in a
way that is clear and broad enough to allow for supporting details.
a key idea from the section that can be
supported in the rest of the paper.
It was a time of economic
Chapter 10 Section 1 273
History-Social Science
7.3 Students analyze the
geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of China in the Middle Ages.
Wei Zheng: An Honest
Build Background
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format. Please see the teacher's edition of your
textbook for this image.
Using the Idea Wave technique (TE p. T38),
have students define honesty (Possible
answers: the practice of not lying, cheating, or
stealing; truthfulness). Explain that this feature focuses on the truthfulness shown by
two citizen heroes who lived almost 1,400
years apart.
Read the information about Wei Zheng
with students. Have students explain
how Wei Zheng’s honesty endangered
his life. (He made the emperor angry by
speaking the truth too boldly for the emperor’s liking.)
Ask: How did the emperor come to
value Wei Zheng? (With some prompting
from his wife, Emperor Taizong realized that
he always could count on Wei Zheng to tell
him the truth.)
Honesty is an important quality for both
citizens and government officials. Wei
Zheng (way juhng), a government
adviser of the Tang Dynasty, was greatly
admired for his truthfulness.
Have students read aloud the information about Aung San Suu Kyi. Ask them
to compare her with Wei Zheng in terms
of honesty. (They both spoke the truth even
when it was unpopular, and they risked their
lives for it.) Then, ask: Why do you think
they both took such a risk? (Possible
answer: They felt that truth was more important than their personal safety.)
Wei Zheng told Emperor Taizong exactly what he thought,
even if it displeased the emperor. Taizong praised Wei
Zheng’s honesty and made him his chief minister.
However, one day the emperor lost his temper. He
said that Wei Zheng was too bold, and he threatened
to execute him. But the empress Zhangsun (jahng suhn)
congratulated the emperor for having an adviser who
was brave enough to speak his mind. The emperor
quickly calmed down.
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Aung San Suu Kyi (owng sahn soo chee)
has devoted her life to a struggle for democracy.
In 1988, she began protesting against the military
dictators of Burma, her homeland in Southeast Asia. Since
then, Suu Kyi has spent years under arrest. Her courage has
earned her many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
When asked how she could endure separation from
family and friends, Suu Kyi had this to say: “Yes, we have
given up our right to a normal life. But we have stayed
true to that most precious part of our humanity—our
Monitor Progress
Ask students to name other historical figures who were known for being honest
and speaking the truth. (Answers will vary,
but many students may suggest people who
were involved in human rights issues and who
suffered for remaining true to their beliefs.
Encourage students to support their choices
with examples.)
Wei Zheng and Aung San Suu Kyi both needed courage
to speak out against their governments. Describe a
situation in school where it takes courage to be honest
and to speak the truth.
274 Citizen Heroes
Universal Access
L1 English Language Learners
L1 Less Proficient Readers
Exploring Honesty Today Have students
Possible answer:
Real-life examples will vary but may
include standing up for a classmate who
has been falsely accused, or voicing disagreement with a school policy.
274 Chapter 10
think of one person alive today whom they
consider to be especially honest, someone
who has spoken the truth (as he or she sees
it; make sure that students allow for differences in points of view) regardless of the
consequences. The person may be a well-
L1 Special Needs
known figure or a friend or family member; in the case of students who are firstgeneration Americans, it may be a historical figure from their country of origin. Ask
students to share their choices, explaining
how the concept of honesty can be seen in
the person they have chosen.
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