T’ang Dynasty architecture – medieval China

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Rooms carved into the side of a big gray cliff, with stairs and walkways

Longmen Caves (493-900 AD)

By the time of the T’ang Dynasty, in the 600s AD, people were bringing together the Buddhist and Taoist traditions in China to create a new unified Chinese artistic style. At the Longmen Caves, sculptors carved many Buddhas and bodhisatvas in this new style. The T’ang emperors also built themselves a beautiful new capital city at Chang’an.

A tall pagoda with many stories

Kunming East Pagoda (ca. 850 AD)

For about a hundred years beginning in 751 AD, the Nanzhao Kingdom conquered parts of south-western China. These rulers built the Kunming East and West Pagodas in Kunming. At the same time, people in the T’ang Dynasty continued to build Buddhist pagodastoo. T’ang period pagodas usually had a square base, like the one in this picture. The emperor Wuzong’s great persecution of Buddhists in the 840s destroyed many Buddhist buildings, but afterwards, in the last years of the T’ang Dynasty, people rebuilt them.

Song architecture
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Bibliography and further reading about ancient Chinese architecture:

Song Dynasty History
Or Song Dynasty Art
Song Dynasty Architecture
More about Chinese Architecture
Ancient China

By |2018-04-18T09:53:27+00:00June 5th, 2017|Architecture, China, Medieval|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. T’ang Dynasty architecture – medieval China. Quatr.us Study Guides, June 5, 2017. Web. December 16, 2018.

About the Author:

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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