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61, to obtain "the fragrant fruit that grows
out of season;" that, after a year's absence, he returned, and
finding the Emperor dead, committed suicide at his tomb. The
"fragrant fruit" is understood to have been the orange, then called
tachibana (Citrus nobilis). If the orange really reached Japan at
that remote date, it does not appear to have been cultivated there,
for the importation of orange trees from China is specially mentioned
as an incident of the early Nara epoch.

INDUSTRIES

One of the unequivocal benefits bestowed on Japan by Buddhism was a
strong industrial and artistic impulse. Architecture made notable
progress owing to the construction of numerous massive and
magnificent temples and pagodas. One of the latter, erected during
the reign of Temmu, had a height of thirteen storeys. The arts of
casting and of sculpture, both in metal and in wood, received great
development, as did also the lacquer industry. Vermilion lacquer was
invented in the time of Temmu, and soon five different colours could
be produced, while to the Nara artisans belongs the inception of
lacquer strewn with makie. Lacquer inlaid with mother-of-pearl was
another beautiful concept of the Nara epoch. A special tint of red
was obtained with powdered coral, and gold and silver were freely
used in leaf or in plates. As yet, history does not find any Japanese
painter worthy of record. Chinese and Korean masters remained supreme
in that branch of art.

TRADE

Commerce with China and Korea was specially active throughout the
eighth century, and domestic trade also nourished. In the capital
there were two markets where people assembled at noon and dispersed
at sunset. Men and women occupied different sections, and it would
seem that transactions were subject to strict surveillance. Thus, if
any articles of defective quality or adulterated were offered for
sale, they were liable to be confiscated officially, and if a buyer
found that short measure had been given, he was entitled to return
his purchase. Market-rates had to be conformed with, and purchasers
were required to pay promptly. It appears that trees were planted to
serve as shelter or ornament, for we read of "trees in the Market of
the East" and "orange trees in the market of Kaika."

HABITATIONS

The Buddhist temple, lofty, spacious, with towering tiled roof,
massive pillars and rich decoration of sculpture and painting, could
not fail to impart an impetus to Japanese domestic architecture,
especially as this impressive apparition was not evolved gradually
under the eyes of the nation but was presented to them suddenly in
its complete magnificence. Thus it is recorded that towards the close
of the seventh century, tiled roofs and greater solidity of structure
began to distinguish official buildings, as has been already noted.
But habitations in general remained insignificant and simple. A poem
composed by the Dowager Empress Gensho (724) with reference to the
dwelling of Prince Nagaya is instructive:

"Hata susuki" (Thatched with miscanthus)
"Obana sakafuki" (And eularia)
"Kuro-ki mochi" (Of ebon timbers built, a house)
"Tsukureru yado wa" (Will live a myriad years.)
"Yorozu yo made ni."

This picture of a nobleman's dwelling in the eighth century is not
imposing. In the very same year the Emperor Shomu, responding to an
appeal from the council of State, issued an edict that officials of
the fifth rank and upwards and wealthy commoners should build
residences with tiled roofs and walls plastered in red. This
injunction was only partly obeyed: tiles came into more general use,
but red walls offended the artistic instinct of the Japanese. Nearly
fifty years later, when (767-769) the shrine of Kasuga was erected at
Nara in memory of Kamatari, founder of the Fujiwara family, its
pillars were painted in vermilion, and the fashion inaugurated found
frequent imitation in later years.

Of furniture the houses had very little as compared with Western
customs. Neither chairs nor bedsteads existed; people sat and slept
on the floor, separated from it only by mats made of rice-straw, by
cushions or by woollen carpets, and in aristocratic houses there was
a kind of stool to support the arm of the sitter, a lectern, and a
dais for sitting on. Viands were served on tables a few inches high,
and people sat while eating. From the middle of the seventh century a
clepsydra of Chinese origin was used to mark the hours.

The first of these instruments is recorded to have been made in A.D.
660, and tradition does not tell what device had previously served
the purpose. When temple bells came into existence, the hours were
struck on them for public information, and there is collateral
evidence that some similar system of marking time had been resorted
to from early eras. But the whole story is vague. It seems, however,
that the method of counting the hours was influenced by the manner of
striking them. Whether bronze bell or wooden clapper was used, three
preliminary strokes were given by way of warning, and it therefore
became inexpedient to designate any of the hours "one," "two," or
"three." Accordingly the initial number was four, and the day being
divided into six hours, instead of twelve, the highest number became
nine, which corresponded to the Occidental twelve.*

*There were no subdivisions into minutes and seconds in old Japan.
The only fraction of an hour was one-half.

BELLS

Concerning the bells here mentioned, they are one of the unexplained
achievements of Japanese casters. In Europe the method of producing a
really fine-toned bell was evolved by "ages of empirical trials," but
in Japan bells of huge size and exquisite note were cast in apparent
defiance of all the rules elaborated with so much difficulty in the
West. One of the most remarkable hangs in the belfry of Todai-ji at
Nara. It was cast in the year 732 when Shomu occupied the throne; it
is 12 feet 9 inches high; 8 feet 10 inches in diameter; 10 inches
thick, and weighs 49 tons. There are great bells also in the temples
at Osaka and Kyoto, and it is to be noted that early Japanese bronze
work was largely tributary and subsidiary to temple worship. Temple
bells, vases, gongs, mirrors and lanterns are the principal items in
this class of metal-working, until a much later period with its
smaller ornaments.

Very few references to road making are found in the ancient annals,
but the reign of the Empress Gensho (715-723) is distinguished as the
time when the Nakasen-do, or Central Mountain road, was constructed.
It runs from Nara to Kyoto and thence to the modern Tokyo, traversing
six provinces en route. Neither history nor tradition tells whether
it was wholly made in the days of Gensho or whether, as seems more
probable, it was only commenced then and carried to completion in the
reign of Shomu (724-748), when a large force of troops had to be sent
northward against the rebellious Yemishi. Doubtless the custom of
changing the capital on the accession of each sovereign had the
effect of calling many roads into existence, but these were of
insignificant length compared with a great trunk highway like the
Nakasen-do.

Along these roads the lower classes travelled on foot; the higher on
horseback, and the highest in carts drawn by bullocks. For
equestrians who carried official permits, relays of horses could
always be obtained at posting stations. Among the ox-carts which
served for carriages, there was a curious type, distinguished by the
fact that between the shafts immediately in front of the dashboard
stood a figure whose outstretched arm perpetually pointed south. This
compass-cart, known as the "south-pointing chariot," was introduced
from China in the year 658. There was also a "cloud-chariot," but
this served for war purposes only, being a movable erection for
overlooking an enemy's defensive work, corresponding to the turris of
Roman warfare. Borrowed also from China was a battering engine which
moved on four wheels, and, like the cloud-chariot, dated from 661,
when a Tang army invaded Korea.

HABILIMENTS

A reader of the Chronicles is struck by the fact that from the close
of the seventh century much official attention seems to have been
bestowed on the subject of costume. Thus, during the last five years
of the Emperor Temmu's reign--namely, from 681--we find no less than
nine sumptuary regulations issued. The first was an edict, containing
ninety-two articles, of which the prologue alone survives, "The
costumes of all, from the princes of the Blood down to the common
people, and the wearing of gold and silver, pearls and jewels,
purple, brocade, embroidery, fine silks, together with woollen
carpets, head-dresses, and girdles, as well as all kinds of coloured
stuffs, are regulated according to a scale, the details of which are
given in the written edict." In the next year (682), another edict
forbids the wearing of caps of rank, aprons, broad girdles, and
leggings by princes or public functionaries, as well as the use of
shoulder-straps or mantillas by palace stewards or ladies-in-waiting.
The shoulder-strap was a mark of manual labour, and its use in the
presence of a superior has always been counted as rude in Japan.

A few days later, this meticulous monarch is found commanding men and
women to tie up their hair, eight months being granted to make the
change, and, at the same time, the practice of women riding astride
on horseback came into vogue, showing that female costume had much in
common with male. Caps of varnished gauze, after the Chinese type,
began to be worn by both sexes simultaneously with the tying-up of
the hair. Two years later, women of forty years or upwards were given
the option of tying up their hair or letting it hang loose, and of
riding astride or side-saddle as they pleased. At the same time, to
both sexes, except on State occasions, liberty of choice was accorded
in the matter of wearing sleeveless jackets fastened in front with
silk cords and tassels, though in the matter of trousers, men had to
gather theirs in at the bottom with a lace.



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