Most periodization schemes of Chinese history would note the significance of a “great divide.” It may be placed before the T'ang period, considering from ethnological as well as cultural standpoints such factors as the first major influx of non-Han conquering groups, the march toward the sub-tropics, the penetration of Buddhism, and so forth. It may be placed much later, around 800 A. D. or after, roughly from the late T'ang to the early Sung, noting the general characteristics of the society and fundamental changes that shaped die political and socio-economic structures of subsequent centuries. Even the Marxist view or revisionist interpretations thereof would not dispute the importance of such changes.

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