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Sui Dynasty

Chicken-head pot

The Sui Dynasty (581-618) lasted for only 37 years -- from Yang Jian. known as Emperor Wendi who set up the Sui Dynasty in 581 -- to Yang Guang. Emperor Yangdi. who was slain in 618. Being a typical. short-lived dynasty. the Sui enjoyed a significant historical status because it had established many policies that were later adopted by the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Furthermore. Emperor Gaozu of the Tang Dynasty was a relative of Yang Guang. Sui Emperor Yangdi. Hence. to a certain extent. the Tang Dynasty was an extension of the Sui and history books often use the combination Sui-Tang to refer the two separate dynasties.

White-glazed two-eared flat bottle

Yang Jian. Sui Emperor Wendi. contributed a lot to Chinese history during this period. namely the reform of official systems. He abolished the six-officials system adopted by the Northern Zhou and replaced it with three departments and six boards -- a system that was retained by the Tang and acquired by Japan during the reform. The Sui Emperor also implemented the system of imperial examinations to replace the Wei-Jin system. where local officials were selected based on the recommendation of prefects. This system was hailed as a great achievement that was more impartial and reasonable than the previous ones. enabling more talented people to assume official careers.

During the reign of Emperor Yangdi. the Grand Canal was constructed -- a water transport artery that helped promote economic development and unify the country. Despite his achievements. Emperor Yangdi was also notorious for his cruelty: He killed all four of his brothers and farther. Emperor Wendi. for the throne. Emperor Yangdi`s cruelty aroused the indignation of the masses. He was hanged in Jiangdu. which marked the end of the Sui Dynasty.