Silk Road’s Major Influence on the Technological Revolution Essay Sample

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The celebrated symbols of ancient Chinese civilization- Silk Road’s major influence on technological revolution, multicultural and religious spirit exchanges are much more far-reaching than the barter trading in prosperous Early Tang Dynasty (618-917AD)

Silk Road, the most well-known trading route of the ancient Chinese civilization and trade prosperity, rose to its peak in early Tang dynasty (618AD). It departed from Chang’an in China and led to the Western regions, It was a result of the establishment of the Tang Emperors and was a great prosperity in the economy. The Emperors paid special attention to the access of vast Western regions The name “Silk Road” was given to the route as silk was the main commodity carried and traded between the east and the west. Along with silk, there were different kinds of commodities carried on the Silk Road were being exported and imported based on barter trading. During the early period of Tang Dynasty (618-907), the capital city called Chang’an (now called Xi’an) became an international metropolis partly because of the silk road. The reason was that the Tang dynasty was the dynasty in ancient China that was most open to trade, most openness dynasty in ancient China, in terms of multicultural, freedom, and high living standard.

Silk Road also had an influence on cultural exchange between China and the west. Its influence went far beyond trading and exchanges in three different ways: the hierarch Xuanzhuang went along the Silk Road to India to seek Buddhism scriptures and popularized Buddhist in ancient China, its major influence on the spreading the printing technology to the Western regions, and the social development of poetry in the Tang dynasty. Firstly, the hierarch Xuanzhuang went on a Silk trip to India for seeking Buddhism scriptures and popularized Buddhism in ancient China. Xuanzhuang was one of the most famous Buddhist translators in ancient Tang Dynasty. Due to his great contribution to the history of Buddhism in China, the ancient city Chang’an had became the centre of the world Buddhism culture at that time. During the early Tang period (629AD), when Xuanzhuang was 28 years old, he began a trip from Chang’an to India.

At that time, the regulation of government banned that citizens from privately went abroad to other countries, the customs were very strict. However, Xuanzhuang was determined, he successfully ran out of the board gate of the Tang dynasty. Xuanzhuang traveled 10,000 miles over three of the highest mountain ranges in Asia, passing through many countries on both the north and south of the Silk roads, such as now Kyrgizstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan on his way to India and back home to China. Xuanzang stopped at Hami, Turfan, Kharashahr, Kucha and Aksu on the northern Silk Road. He established well friendship among Tang dynasty and other countries. At Tokmak in 628 C.E., Xuanzhuang met the Great Khan of the Western Turks who has the power. Xuanzang gave him the letter and gifts from the Turfan king. the Great Khan’s relations with the Tang Emperor in Chang’an were friendly and he welcomed Xuanzang and his party. In Xuanzhuang’s memoir he recalled the impression of Chirggis Khan:

He was covered with a robe of green satin, and his hair was loose, only it was bound round with a silken band some ten feet in length, which was twisted around his head and fell down behind. He was surrounded by about 200 officers, who were all clothed in brocade stuff, with their hair braided. On the right and left he was attended by independent troops, all clothed in fur and fine-spun garments; they carried lances and bows and standards, and were mounted on camels and horses. The eye could not estimate their numbers. [1]

The diversity of impressions of other countries’ kings has emerged which benefited Tang’s people to study widely about the habitat of foreign people. At each stop, he visitedthe kings and had his Chinese passport stamped by every kings, and had his caravan replenished with horses and camels. The main idea of his long travelling was to preach the true essence of the Buddhist doctrine to merchants and warriors as well as his fellow monks in each western region along the route. When he arrived to the land of India and he felt he entered to a new world, so he stopped his travelling and wrote down a long chapter for a new consideration of the land of India. He says: {India} was above 90,000 li in circuit, with the Snowy Mountains (The Hindu Kush) in the north and the sea on its three other sides… It was politically divided into above seventy kingdoms; the heat of the summer was very great.. [2]

Finally, he brought all Buddhist scriptures back to Chang’an. Emperor Gaozong was very joyful and thankful, so he gave out the permission and royalty support to construct the Great Goose Pagoda. Xuanzhuang’s famous written book entitled “Pilgrimage to the West” and other scriptures were all treasure in the pagoda. Thus, the famous Great Goose Pagoda was born in the prosperous Tang Dynasty, and it became a place for traditional temple fairs and scholars’ gathering. The scholars exchanged the idea of Buddhism and learned from each other. Thus, Xuanzhuang’s western ward journey brought several important ideologies back to Tang’s people, and boosted the cultural exchange relationship between Tang dynasty and the rest of the world. Along with Marco Polo, Xuanzhuang would be the most famous traveler on the Silk Road. He travelled both on the northern and southern Silk roads which even Marco Polo did not do.

Secondly, Printing technology firstly invented Engraving Printing during Sui Dynasty, till Northern Song Dynasty it was well developed, finally generated to Movable Type Printing after Tang Dynasty. People called Bi Sheng(毕晟) [4]the primogenitor of printing technology. Chinese Printing was not only the guide of human Modern civilization, but also creating criteria for widely knowledge propagating. This printing was the one of technologies being propagated by the Silk Road. Today, in some area of Dunhuang, Turpan, the woodblock of Engraving Printing and some paper products were discovered. The oldest printing material called “Diamond Sutra”(金刚经. [5]from Tang Dynasty which was found in city Dunhuang, Gansu province. However, the aberrant copy of “Diamond Sutra” still preserved in The British Museum, which was the evidence to show that printing technology during Tang Dynasty at least spreading up to Central Asia.

In 13th century, some European travelers came to ancient China along the Silk Road and brought this technology back to Europe. Moreover, Chinese Movable Type Printing technology from Xinjiang province, China, go through Persia (the old name of Iran) and Egypt, finally disseminated to Europe. In 1450 years, the European inventor of Movable Type Printing, Gutenberg[7], who is from German and his discovery process was inspired by Chinese printing. He discovered movably types with alloy material were composed into pages, and ink were applied to the raised surface and then impressed on the paper. Around 1466 years, the first Printing Factory was emerged in Italy, and then this technology was spread all over the Europe very soon. Thus, the western transmission of Chinese Printing, it accelerated the evolution of European social development and seted the stage for “European Renaissance[8]”.

Thirdly, Tang Dynasty’s poetry reached the peak among other dynasties, which imported newly poem style from India Buddhism through Silk Road and had great influence on promoting Tang people’s cultural development. Tang Dynasty, an particular dynasty was under such well environment which involved that the most openness and multicultural exchange. Many famous poets were born on in Tang, such as Li Bai(701-762), Du Fu(712-770) and Bai Juyi(772-846). At that time, the only exam standards of being officer in Tang government was about rhyming. Thus, every people in class and in school learned about how to write poems.

Also, the reason why poems were very popular during that dynasty in terms of three conditions: multicultural, freedom, high living standard. The diversity of ideological belief was reflected during Tang Dynasty. In other dynasties, people must obey all the government regulations and cannot say anything bad about the government. However, Tang Dynasty was very unique, citizens can stand on any side of agree and disagree with government regulations. For instance, people can express emotion by rhyming and the poems style related to military frontier fortress. They can randomly rhyme not only about the advantages of the military, but also about the disadvantages of the military. From this example, opening thoughts were correctly conveyed. On the other hand, the most popular category of poem was called “metrical verse” in Tang Dynasty. The famous poet, Wang Wei (699-759) was good at rhyming this pattern.

According to Chinese scholar, Chen Guangen’s Journal, Indian Buddhism did such important impact on Chinese Linguistics. The famous “Metrical verse” was imported from the phonology of Indian Buddhism. Traditional poems also emphasized on the phonology, but there were no regular pattern. From Song Dynasty to Tang Dynasty, some people lived in Nanking had good friendship with scholars from Shramana. In the are around Shramana, their main language is Sanskrit. Thus, scholars in Tang Dynasty took examples from them and divided sound tones into four tones which were Ping, Shang, Qu,and Ru(平,上。去,入)[9]. This pattern was not only absorbing the study of Chinese phonology, but also absorbing Sanskrit’s language. Thus, Tang’s poems were very prevailing due to the combination of native and foreign’s social culture. There was a Chinese proverb: 熟读唐诗三百首,不会作诗也会吟。 If you have recited thoroughly 300 typical Tang poems, even when you cannot write the poem, you will be able to chant some. According to this proverb, it can be seen that how importance of Tang’s poems was.

To sum up, Silk Road started at city Chang’an (now called Xi’an), and traveled all the way west to Mediterranean, and southern to the region to India. From 2nd century to the 16th century, the Silk Road was particularly flourishing and it was the longest and the most powerful cultural route in the world. It was a Road that brought with the fusion and exchange that had great influence on human civilization. The length of trading route was calculated to be approximately 8 thousand kilometers, covering the land of 27 countries, and it was used almost 2 thousand years. In 1877, it formally named called- Silk Road. Beside trade, this Road was also responsible for cultural exchanges between the east and the west. Through the Silk Road, China’s traditional paper-making technology was spread to Western countries, and the India Buddhism has been widely disseminated from India to China, Japan and even eastern regions. It was not an overstatement to say the silk road gave us the first glimpse of globalization that we endorse so much nowadays.

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