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The merchants of Chang’an in the Sui and Tang dynasties

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As the capital of the Sui and Tang dynasties, Chang’an brought together large numbers of high-ranking officials, aristocrats, local residents, and sojourners. The promise of profits caused by the high demand for consumer goods attracted merchants. Chang’an was also the starting point of the renowned Silk Road. For all these reasons, Chang’an became a gathering point for Small and medium-scale merchants, rich merchants, ethnic-minority merchants, and foreign merchants. All these merchants engaged in a wide variety of business activities and made money by surprisingly diverse means. Those with great economic power were quite active politically. The activities of these merchants symbolize the unprecedented growth of commerce in Chang’an and reveal the high level of development of urban trade in the Sui and the Tang dynasties.


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