Tang Dynasty Case Study

1057 Words5 Pages
The idea of introducing a written exam surfaced in mid-Tang years. This channeled the flow of talented individuals from applying for clerical posts to studying to pass the examination. However, when a written exam, called ke ju, was finally introduced, it also provided an unforeseen downside. Keju rewarded those with the highest academic ability. However, it was extremely hard for a commoner to receive proper education to get ready for the exam. All in all, it was difficult for a talented individual from a poor family to enter the officialdom. The chances of upward social mobility between the two bottom layers of the society remained low and inevitably, class conflict ensued. (12) The Song Dynasty, on the other hand, focused on drawing talent…show more content…
In Tang Dynasty, deeply rooted favoritism stemming from the influence of the ‘eminent families’ who held powerful posts prevented someone without connection and background from occupying prominent posts. In this manner, the power of eunuchs in Tang Dynasty began to accumulate. By the time of Emperor Xizong’s rule, substantial cliques began to form. The cliques grew powerful enough to formulate the national policy and claim monopoly on officeholding. The clash between the cliques radically undermined the ruling of the central government and led to its downfall.…show more content…
On the contrary, in many ways, Tang Dynasty contributed in laying the prerequisite groundwork for the Song to build firmer settlement on. For one, emperor Taizong (598~649) of Tang Dynasty reunified China. Tang Dynasty also came up with the idea of recruiting officials through examination, based on which Song built its more sophisticated system. Most importantly, the failures of Tang Dynasty policies gave the Song officials a near-empirical insight on whether a policy would work or not. The agricultural developments and policies, and Civil Service Exam were an elaboration from the framework that the Tang had set up decades ago. The cardinal difference between the two dynasties was their respective level of ‘social mobility.’ The class conflicts, peasants’ uprising, and the eunuch domination, all of which enervated the Tang Dynasty were effectively kept at bay due to the fluidity in social mobility. There is an old Chinese saying, ‘stagnant water is bound to rot’. It is safe to assume that the increased social mobility in Song Dynasty prevented forming of cliques within the elite society, eliminated perpetuating monopoly on officeholding and put a stop to exploitation of the peasants. This led to respective functionality and the overall compatibility in all three layers of the society. This perhaps, was the very reason why Song was able to live the era of unprecedented economic and cultural
Open Document