Tang China ca. 750
This map depicts the Tang Dynasty in China ca. 750, including areas of Tang influence though not part of the empire proper. Chinese art and culture during this medieval Period of Disunion reached an unprecedented level of sophistication and maturity. (Notably, the Medieval or "Middle" Ages in the Western literary tradition is often seen as a period of relative stagnation between the Roman age and the Renaissance.) The Tang Dynasty ruled from 618–907, during which time traditions from the north and the south were combined. The Tang constructed a canal between the Yellow and the Yangzi rivers, which enabled the movement of goods and people between northern and southern areas of China. In its early years, the Tang Dynasty also expanded its borders. The imperial capital was located at Chang'an, which had long been the capital until it was moved to Nanjing in the south. The city is shown on the map inset, with its regular grid of streets and the imperial city and palace within its walls (1a). The capital was a true cosmopolitan hub that welcomed foreigners from China's many land and maritime trade routes.