Discuss the cultural and technological achievements of Tang and Song China.
Among the technological developments of the Tang Dynasty was an efficient system of transportation, which included not only the Grand Canal which had been built earlier, but a system of roads and runners complete with inns, stables and post offices. The system was so efficient that runners could traverse the entire empire in nine days. A large group of runners was used to deliver fresh seafood to the Tang court over a distance of more than 900 miles. Under both dynasties, a number of agricultural improvements were implemented including use of the iron plow, water wheels and an intricate irrigation system. This allowed larger areas to be cultivated and resulted in an agricultural boom.
During these dynasties, the practice of binding the feet of young girls was implemented. It was normally only done with daughters of the wealthy and was considered quite attractive, as it meant the young lady's family was wealthy enough that she did not need to work in the fields.
Among other cultural changes, Buddhism entered China during the Tang and Song Dynasties as a result of foreign merchants who travelled within the Empire. This was considered a direct challenge to Confucianism, which had fallen into decline during the Period of the Warring States. As a result, a hybrid form of Buddhism known as Chan (in Japanese "Zen") Buddhism developed Even this offended many Chinese Confucianists and Daoists which resulted in the religion's ban. A new form of Confucianism, neo-Confucianism developed which embraced some Buddhist ideals such as social harmony and proper personal conduct.