Chang'an Spring

Tang Dynasty Tools from the Seventh to Ninth Centuries

Tribesman riding a camel Tribesman riding a camel (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

1. West City scenery

Wuling young people born with gold live east of the city. Silver saddles, white horses in the spring breeze. 

Coin (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Kaiyuan Tongbao

Chang'an in the Tang dynasty was made up of two cities: East and West. The West City was an international center for trade with a dazzling lineup of local and imported products. Many Hu merchants from Sogdia, Fars (in modern Iran), and Arabia (modern-day Saudi Arabia) lived there.

According to the Old Book of Tang: Merchant Records, in the seventh month of the fourth year of Wude (621), the Wu Zhu coin was abolished in favor of the Kaiyuan Tongbao.Kaiyuan Tongbao means a circulating treasure for the opening up of a new era, rather than the coins issued during the Kaiyuan era.

Small jar and lid Small jar and lid (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Small silver pearl lidded jar with floral and animal pattern

Gold and silverware from the Tang dynasty were influenced by Sasanian, Sogdian, and Roman/Byzantine culture, and have strong exotic colors.

Silver dish with lobed rim Silver dish with lobed rim (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

This plate features hammered sterling silver, floral and fish patterns, and decorative gilding.

There are three people shown on the plate. In the middle is a noble gentleman sitting on the ground wearing a short-sleeved shirt and a soft headdress. He is holding up a cup and lifting up his head to drink.

The maid on the left is holding a cup in her left hand and a jar in her right hand.The maid on the right is holding a long octagonal cup.

Box with yellow glaze Box with yellow glaze, Tang dynasty, From the collection of: Wangye Museum
Flask with brown glaze Flask with brown glaze, Tang dynasty, From the collection of: Wangye Museum
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Small white ware jar and lid Small white ware jar and lid (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Round white jar with lid

Porcelain was an important export in the Tang dynasty, and pieces produced by Xing, Yue, and Changsha kilns were favored by both Chinese and overseas markets.

Glass cup with dimple motif Glass cup with dimple motif (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Mohua diamond pattern glass cup

Mohua is a cold grinding process that is a common feature of Sasanian glassware.Glass products like this were imported into Chang'an, Luoyang, and surrounding areas, and were a precious luxury.

A similarly shaped white bowl was found in the Shosoin Repository in Japan (Middle Section 68).

White ware cup with garland handle White ware cup with garland handle (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

2. Hu barmaids

Where did they ride outside, riding through falling blossoms? Among laughing Mongolian female singers in the wine bars.

Gilded bronze stemmed cup Gilded bronze stemmed cup (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Bronze gilded hunter pattern goblet

In the Tang dynasty, there was a strong drinking culture with a wide variety of wines.Cups used for wine come in various shapes.

White ware ewer with ornate spout White ware ewer with ornate spout (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

White floral jug

A major feature of drinking culture in the Tang dynasty was Hu style, and with the introduction of various Western wine utensils, porcelain began to imitate the style of gold and silverware.

Bronze inkstone Bronze inkstone (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

3. Qujiang banquet

Pass an imperial exam in early spring and sit at the head of the Qujiang banquet in the apricot garden.

Mirror with drinking scene Mirror with drinking scene (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Bronze mirror with image of drinking official

Qujiang is located in the southeastern corner of Chang'an. Since the reign of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang, the imperial court held gatherings along Qujiang whenever a successful candidate in the imperial examinations was announced.

To be nominated for the Wild Goose Pagoda or attend a Qujiang banquet were the life goals of scholars at the time.

Basket-shaped inkstone (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Sectioned two-footed basket-shaped inkstone

This inkstone is shaped like a basket or ancient woven dustpan.The inkstone is sloped with feet at the higher end and is one of the most classic styles of inkstone in ancient China.

Sancai glazed Buddhist temple Sancai glazed Buddhist temple (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

4. Light of Brahma

Clean water is added to the white jade bowl, as the fragrance of tea radiates from the golden stove.

Sancai glazed Buddhist temple Side 3Wangye Museum

Tricolored printed Buddhist temple

During the Sui and Tang dynasties, local Buddhist sects were set up one after another.Buddhism was followed by all emperors of the Tang dynasty except for Wuzong. It had a vast and wide-reaching impact on the ideology and society of the time. Worshipping Buddhas was all the rage.

Black and white cup FrontWangye Museum

Zisu porcelain pan

Zi means black and su means white.Because ancient Indian monks wore mostly black clothing and ordinary people tended to wear white, zisu came to be a collective term for monks and ordinary people.

Black and white cup BottomWangye Museum

After Buddhism was introduced to China, Buddhists applied this way of dressing to ceramic teaware.

Alms bowl with lid Alms bowl with lid (Tang dynasty)Wangye Museum

Yellow Youjiao lidded pot

Youjiao pottery was first produced in the Tang dynasty. It is created by twisting two different colors of clay to form special patterns. It is difficult to produce, so fewer items of this style were made.

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