The Tang Dynasty did not discriminate against ethnic groups. All were treated the same, and people from minority groups held positions of great importance. In fact, members of minorities became prime ministers, generals, and members of the imperial garrison.
And the mothers of several Tang emperors were not from the Han majority.
Tang Emperor Taizong handled relationships with ethnic minorities skillfully. One motto of his was, “In the past, Chinese emperors emphasized the Han people at the expense of minority groups, but I believe they are all from one family so they support me.”
The ethnic minorities in northwest China revered Emperor Taizong and called him Tian Kehan. Kehan means “emperor” and Tian Kehan means “the son of Heaven“.
In October 1970, archeologists discovered more than a thousand Tang artifacts. One was a silver kettle featuring dancing horses with cups in their mouths, which matched the historical record for Emperor Taizong’s seventieth birthday.
Poetry flourished. Although the Tang Dynasty lasted less than 300 years, more than 50,000 poems had been produced. All of them have been published today in one collection of Tang poetry.
Then there were the developments and inventions. Total History reports, “One of the authors of medicine in the Tang period identified that people who suffer from Diabetes had excessive sugar levels in the urine. … the use of gun powder in weapons … the first gas cylinders to hold gas, made of bamboo … air conditioning to cool rooms in the imperial palace … the invention of porcelain.” This is just a sample.
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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.
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