Diplomatic Relationship of Tang
Location of Capital: Chang an, in Today's Xi'an City, Shanxi Province
Emperors: Li Yuan, Li Shimin, Sui Yangdi
Replaced by: Song Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty also marked a golden age of relations with foreign powers. The excellence of its advanced civilization rendered the Chinese Empire the envy of countries throughout Asia, Europe and Africa. Each in their turn sent envoys and merchants to trade with the Tang, whose empire was to become a world center for trade and cultural exchange.
The Tang was trading with more than seventy countries. To foster this trade, the government allowed tax concessions to foreigners, who were permitted to settle in China and to marry Chinese citizens. Some even went on to secure positions within the government. Many foreign countries began to call the Chinese 'Tang people', an appellation that survives in some countries to this day.
Relationship between Tang and Japan
Contact between China and Japan had been established in the early part of the Han Dynasty. This was enhanced by both the Sui and the Tang. During the Tang Dynasty Japan sent envoys to China on nineteen separate occasions. Students and monks swarmed into the empire to study.
There were two people in particular worthy of mention here. They were Apeizhongmalu and a monk named Konghai. Apeizhongmalu was the most famous of the Japanese students who came to China. Emperor Taizong gave him the Chinese name Chaoheng.
Not only did he become an official in the central government through the examination system but he also became a close friend of famous poets such as Libai and Wangwei. Of the monks who came to China, Konghai was the most outstanding. They arrived in 804 and studied Buddhism at the Qinlong Temple. On his return to Japan, he took with him over one hundred and eighty Buddhist scriptures and established the Tantra sect of Buddhism there.
Students and monks were sent also to Japan from China. Jianzhen is considered to be the most influential of the monks. He successfully traveled to Japan in 754 after five attempts to visit. It was he who introduced Lu Buddhism to the Japanese and he taught sculpture, architecture and painting.
It was thanks to these cultural exchanges that benefits were derived by both nations. Chinese culture and technology spread to Japan. The Japanese political system, legislation, economic policy, life style and culture were all deeply influenced by that of the Tang. In return, Japanese culture was introduced into China, in particular this was true of music and dance, which became very popular.
Relationship between Tang and Xinluo
In the early years of the Tang, the Korean Peninsula was divided into three separate kingdoms. These were Gaoli, Baiji and Xinluo. All three had contact with China but in 660 China conquered Baiji and in 668 did likewise with Gaoli. Xinluo resisted the might of the empire and the Tang retreated from the Korean Peninsula. In 675, Xinluo united the peninsula.
Xinluo maintained its relations with China and its students formed the greatest number studying in China. Meanwhile, on the basis of the volume of imports from the empire, Xinluo became China's greatest trading partner.
The Tang culture began to have an enormous influence on the Xinluo. In 675 they adopted the tang calendar. In mid eighth century, they reformed their administration on the lines of that of the Tang and then in 788 adopted the civil service examination system for the appointment of officials. Tea cultivation, engraving and printing skills were also introduced from China. In return, Gaoli music was introduced to China and imported goods from Xinluo further enriched the lifestyle of the people of the Tang Empire.
Friendship with Persia and Dashi
Friendly relations were established and maintained with both Persia (today's Iran) and Dashi (Arab nations).Two Persian princes settled in Chang'an and Persian merchants established themselves all over the empire.
In Chang'an, Luoyang, Yangzhou and Guangzhou, shops owned by Persian merchants were noted for the gems, coral, carnelian, spices and medicines that they offered for sale. Persian dates and spinach were introduced into China. Chinese merchandise such as silk, porcelain and paper was brought by the Persians and traded in the West via the Silk Road.
Arabians were known to the Tang as Dashi. In 651, the Dashi sent envoys to Chang'an to establish trade on over forty occasions and their merchants set up businesses in Guangzhou, Yangzhou, Chang'an, Luoyang, Quanzhou and other cities. They settled down and learned Chinese culture, while some were appointed to government posts. They built their mosques and their religion was given due respect by the Tang.