Ming empire armillary sphere. Two-thirds scale replica. China. Courtesy the Chabot an are & scientific research Center, Steven dos Remedios.
Ming dynasty armillary sphere. Two-thirds range replica. China. Courtesy of Chabot an are & scientific research Center, Steven dos Remedios.

As v art, literature, and also philosophy, the Tang dynasty (618-906) nurtured a golden e of breakthrough and creation in science and modern technology that culminated in the Song empire (960-1279). The expansive exchange of international goods and also information during the Tang, together with the high value put upon close monitoring and analysis that identified the Song, collection the stage for vigorous clinical innovations. Important developments were made in astronomy, agriculture, industry, medicine, and also military technologies.

You are watching: Tang and song dynasty golden age


China was amongst the earliest nations to highly value astronomical research, consisting of celestial observations and investigation that various methods for determining date and also time. Astronomical records made by Chinese observers date earlier four thousands years. During the Tang and Song dynasties, the advancement of expensive instruments and other devices for observation and also meas- urement developed rapidly.

In the early on Tang empire (around 633), Li Chun Feng broadened the old concept of one armillary round for mapping the heavens to incorporate three intersecting rings—a red ring showing the sunlight path, a white ring because that the moon path, and also a yellow ring for the star path. One century later, Tang huge administrator Yi Xing developed you can a planetary version consisting the a copper armillary sphere, driven by water to finish one one rotation daily. During the course of this rotation, 2 wooden mannequins the were component of the version would respectively strike a ring or a drum to suggest the time. As expensive administrator, Yi Xing likewise led a national project to observe, identify, and locate stars. Based on the result data, the calculated the length of a degree of the meridian—the very first astronomer in the civilization to measure the imaginary good circle around the earth.

By the time of the track dynasty, Chinese astronomers had built extensive star maps and an array of facility and beautiful huge instruments for measuring the an accurate movement and also location the heavenly bodies. 5 armillary spheres, each using much more than 10,000 kilograms that copper, were actors in one century during the Song. A star map made in between 1094 and 1096 through Su Song, the element minister, presented 1464 stars.

Su tune was likewise responsible because that what is more than likely the most colorful invention of the tune dynasty: an huge water clock-tower created in 1088. The clock tower stand thirty-five feet tall and also included a celestial world on the third floor, and an armillary round on the roof. Wood mannequins emerged from the tower doors beating drums and gongs and displaying tablet computers announcing the moment of day. One legend holds that Su track spent 7 years structure the clock-tower after being embarrassed by the inaccuracy of a Chinese calendar that led to him to deliver birthday greetings top top a diplomatic mission one day too early.

The an innovation for producing escapement mechanisms, occurred for accurately adjusting and regulating timepieces in Tang and Song China, to be exported come Europe, wherein clocks through escapement mechanisms showed up two hundred years later.


Probably the most essential goal in mapping the heavens to be the advancement of precise calendar for usage in tasks such together farming, navigation, rituals, and also astrology. Developments in celestial observation throughout the Tang and Song brought about the compilation the remarkably precise calendars. That is believed that the an initial systematic Chinese calendars showed up in the third and 2nd centuries BCE. Beforehand calendars were based on the phase changes of the sun and also moon, as well consideration of five visible planets (Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and also Saturn), all provided to plot out years, months, and days. During the flavor dynasty, expensive administrator Yi Xing published the many comprehen- sive and influential calendar in Chinese history: the Da Yan calendar. The was based upon a sophisticated understanding of the sun’s orbit, and calculated the brand-new moon, complete moon, twenty-four solar terms, and also the ongoing activities of the sun and moon. After the Da Yan calendar to be issued in 728, that was embraced in other parts of Asia and used in China without major modification till seventeen century. About 1090, an alternative calendar to be compiled utilizing twelve jieqi, or half of the earlier twenty-four solar terms (a system constant with the Gregorian calendar arisen in the West nine hundred years later); however, it was not adopted during the tune dynasty.

Agricultural Engineering and Technology

Tang and also Song official support for scientific research study and breakthrough was additionally evident in domain of farming engineering and also technology. The Tang administration completed 1,088 big irrigation projects, 40 flood-control projects, and also 27 waterway transportation projects throughout the country. An main bureau was created for effective management the these types of projects. Peasants were motivated with ownership incentives and also tax waivers to carry over two million hectares the extra agriculture land into production during the an initial century the the Song.

Agricultural design innovations consisted of specific varieties of devices such together the Tang empire East flow plough, which had eleven components and allowed for adaptability in the depth the furrowing. The human-operated waterwheel was invented and also widely employed in irrigation, allowing water to it is in transported from lower to higher elevations. During the tune the capacity of the water-wheel was substantially amplified with animal power.

Technological advancements in rice cultivation supported a population explosion during the southerly Song, once northern intrusions drove much of the Chinese populace from the wheat-growing area of north China to the rice-growing south listed below the Yangtze River. Remarkable seed ranges were imported from Vietnam and Korea. To bring wetlands right into production, dams were developed up, and the water subsequently drained out to create cultivable land. In deep-water areas, people employed “floating farmland” for planting. This floating farmland to be either formed naturally with long- ax deposition of floor on the roots of masses of floating Feng grass, or artificially constructed by planting Feng grass in a wood frame and then depositing soil on the roots.

Farming innovations additionally brought hillsides into farming production. When arable floor was tired on the plain, people turned their initiatives to producing hillside terraces for increased plant- ing. Agricultural terraces appeared during the tang dynasty and were in reasonably widespread use during the tune dynasty, mainly in Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Sichuan through their considerable hilly areas.


The Tang and Song attention in standardization and also scientific observation also contributed to developments in the ar of medicine. In 659, during the flavor dynasty, old traditions that Chinese herbal medicine to be compiled into an imperial pharmacopeia referred to as the revised Materia Medica, the very first recorded pharmacopeia in the world. It noted 844 medications in ripe categories v illustrations made from genuine specimens. Around seventy years after this official standardization, Chen Zangqi compiled the Supplements that the Materia Medica, which introduced an additional 692 medicines.

The development of moveable form in the track dynasty contributed to a fast spread of clinical knowledge and also further advances. An main bureau of medicine was created for compilation and also correction of medical publications. Numerous national medical surveys to be conducted and also a medicine manufacturing facility constructed.

The healing art and science known as acupuncture was invented in China together well. Acupuncture takes two forms: one employs long, thin needles to puncture certain points ~ above the person body; the other involves heating up specific locations on the body. Conducting either kind of procedure requires extensive training, and they are occasionally combined. Usually, acupuncture is likewise combined v Chinese natural medicine. Acupuncture source in the Neolithic China and, just like herbal medicine, was systematically recorded and also taught as a science during the Tang and Song.

In the tang dynasty, acupuncture was defined in detail by many publications and widely taught in official medical institutions. The famed doctor, sun Simiao (581–682) questioned acupuncture in extensive detail in his popular medical book, The Thousand gold Formulae. In the tang dynasty, people started to usage acupuncture charts come teach and also practice. In the track dynasty, the royal physician Wang Weiyi compiled a dedicated acupuncture book, portrayed Manual that Acupuncture clues on a Copper Puppet, using two copper puppets plainly indicating acupuncture points on the body for the purposes of teaching and practicing. The publication of manuals throughout the Tang added to a spread of acupuncture practice to Japan and also Korea. In the tune dynasty, acupuncture was introduced to even an ext countries consisting of England and France.


One the the most significant Tang dynasty inventions was perhaps created by accident. Black color powder, one explosive mixture that saltpeter, sulphur, and also charcoal, is generally believed to have actually been an unintended discovery made through alchemists. These an innovative investigators commonly conducted chemistry experiments in a search for the elixir that immortality. The earliest created record concerning gunpowder is Optimization that Alchemical procedures by Sulphuric Method, a book written by sunlight Simiao, the most renowned doctor in flavor history.

During the song dynasty, gunpowder an innovation was additional refined for military purposes and also many kinds of firearms were invented. In the year 1000, tang Fu designed and manufactured a dynamite arrow, gunpowder ball, and also barbed shooting powder packages and also donated them come the track emperor. In 1132, the fire lance was presented with dynamite in a lengthy bamboo tube. When fired, flames were projected on the enemy. In 1259, a fire-spitting lance was enhanced with bullets. When fired, bullets were ejected v the flames. Fire-spitting lances are concerned as the prototype that the musket or gun. In ~ the end of the song dynasty, a primitive rocket weapon was designed by using gunpowder come propel an arrow, which is comparable in rule to the modern rocket. Tune firearm tools were produced in massive quantities. It was taped that the tools bureau had eleven huge workshops and also hired end 40,000 workers. On a day-to-day basis they produced 7,000 ordinary gunpowder arrows, 10,000 cross-bow shooting powder arrows, 3,000 barbed shooting powder packages, and 20,000 ordinary gunpowder packages.

In addition, throughout the flavor dynasty, saltpeter, the most essential ingredient for creating gunpowder, was presented to India and also Iran. In the Song, dynamite itself reached these 2 countries. Through 1255, dynamite was introduced to to the Arab world, and through Arab-controlled Spain to Europe. Firearms were introduced to main Asia, the middle East, and Europe through Mongolian expeditionary forces throughout the Song and Yuan dynasties. Europe learned gunpowder and firearmsmaking approaches from the Arabs and produced your own guns in fourteenth century.

See more: Morning At The Window Ts Eliot 'S 'Morning At The Window'


The Tang and also Song dynasties were a golden age for Chinese science, just as they were because that art, literature, and philosophy. Astronomical and also medical research was officially supported and also systematically recorded. All far-ranging arenas the infrastructure, commerce, and also manufacture, including agriculture and firearms underwent organized, quick growth. The clinical and technological advances made throughout the Tang-Song period exerted far-ranging influence on advances abroad and also at house for centuries to come.