As two ancient civilizations, China and Tianzhu, which referred to the India Peninsular (now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), kept close contact with each other during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
During that period, a large number of Indian visitors came to China, and the diplomatic missions of the two sides paid frequent visits to each other with numerous gifts.
At the end of the seventh century, Chinese papers and papermaking technology were spread to India, while medicine, the astronomical calendar, linguistics, music, dances, painting, and architecture of India were also spread to China.
Some Chinese medical books quoted the medical theories and medicines of Tianzhu. An astronomer of Tianzhu once served as a government official of the Tang Dynasty in charge of the calendar. The culture of Tianzhu also influenced the music, mural paintings, and statues of that time.
In addition, the two countries conducted long-term exchanges on religion. As the cradle of Buddhism, one of three major religions of the world, Indian civilization had deep effects on Chinese culture.
The papermaking technology made it convenient to copy, preserve, translate, and spread the Buddhist scriptures, contributing to Buddhism’s development around the world. The translation of Buddhist scriptures also promoted exchanges on linguistics, literature, philosophy, ideology, and ethnic studies of both sides.
Based on the solid foundation of Confucianism, Chang’an (now Xi’an, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province) became a new center of Buddhism across the world. The city also played an important role in the development of Buddhism, since it helped spread Buddhism to the Korea Peninsular and Japan, along with Chinese culture.
During the cultural exchanges, China took in Indian culture and made some innovations as well. The Buddhist sculptures and buildings of the Tang Dynasty were built with the integration of the two cultures. Chinese artists created them with the aesthetic standard of that time, making them acceptable to locals.
The handicrafts, production technology, and plant seeds of China were also transported to India through monks and businessmen.
The exchanges between the two ancient civilizations had a profound influence to the economic and cultural development of both sides.