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Scent of a woman and her time

By Zhao Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-21 11:30
Tang Dynasty tortoise-shaped incense burner from the Famen Temple Museum.[Photo/Shanghai Museum]

"The self-designation tells as much about the attitude of the emperor as it does about that of his people - they were ready to take the world under their wings," Jiang says.

"If there's one word to describe the Silk Road, it's fluidity. The constant influx of 'foreigners' into Chang'an and other major cities of Tang not only broadened locals' outlook but also instilled into the society a world vision, a vision that translated into a strong assimilating force.

"As a result, many who had come just to trade eventually stayed, long enough to start calling themselves the people of Tang."

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