During the T’ang Dynasty China was known as one of the most powerful states in the world at the time. The country was divided into two administrative segments, known as the Northern T’ang, and the Southern T’ang. This coin was minted in the Southern T’ang region.
The T’ang Dynasty was founded by Li Yuan and his son Li Shih-Min, with the aid of Turkish allies. The early strength of the T’ang was built directly upon the excellent system of communications and administration established by the Sui. During the T’ang, China was open to foreign ideas and developed trade with neighboring countries and Central Asia. While the introduction of foreign music and dances enriched the T’ang culture, the Chinese Confucian culture and administrative system had profound influence in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Sculpture flourished (T’ang horses are especially noted) and the paintings (of which few examples have survived) are considered superior. The classics of Confucianism were closely studied and provided the basis for the civil-service examinations that were to assume great importance in later dynastic developments.