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The taste of the time was typified in
such vagaries as covering trees with artificial flowers in winter and
in piling up snow so that some traces of snowy landscapes might still
be seen in spring or summer. Such excess reminds the student of
decadent Rome as portrayed by the great Latin satirists.

Other favorite amusements at Court were: gathering sweet-flag in
summer and comparing the length of its roots, hawking, fan-lotteries,
a kind of backgammon called sugoroku, and different forms of
gambling. Football was played, a Chinese game in which the winner was
he who kicked the ball highest and kept it longest from touching the
ground.

Another rage was keeping animals as pets, especially cats and dogs,
which received human names and official titles and, when they died,
elaborate funerals. Kittens born at the palace at the close of the
tenth century were treated with consideration comparable to that
bestowed on Imperial infants. To the cat-mother the courtiers sent
the ceremonial presents after childbirth, and one of the
ladies-in-waiting was honoured by an appointment as guardian to the
young kittens.

ENGRAVING: SKETCH OF "SHINDENZUKUBI" (Style of Dwelling House of
Nobles in the Heian Epoch)

MUSIC AND DANCING

With the growth of luxury in the Heian epoch and the increase of
extravagant entertainment and amusement, there was a remarkable
development of music and the dance. Besides the six-stringed harp or
wagon, much more complex harps or lutes of thirteen or twenty-five
strings were used, and in general there was a great increase in the
number and variety of instruments. Indeed, we may list as many as
twenty kinds of musical instruments and three or four times as many
varieties of dance in the Heian epoch. Most of the dances were
foreign in their origin, some being Hindu, more Korean, and still
more Chinese, according to the usual classification. But imported
dances, adaptations of foreign dances, and the older native styles
were all more or less pantomimic.

ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPE GARDENING

Except in the new capital city with its formal plan there were no
great innovations in architecture. Parks around large houses and
willows and cherry-trees planted along the streets of Kyoto relieved
this stiffness of the great city. Landscape-gardening became an art.
Gardens were laid out in front of the row of buildings that made up
the home of each noble or Court official.

Convention was nearly as rigid here as it was in Court etiquette. In
the centre of this formal garden was a miniature lake with bridges
leading to an island; there was a waterfall feeding the lake, usually
at its southern end; and at the eastern and western limits of the
garden, respectively, a grotto for angling and a "hermitage of spring
water"--a sort of picnic ground frequented on summer evenings. The
great artist, Kanaoka, of the end of the ninth century worked at
laying out these rockeries and tiny parks. A native school of
architects, or more correctly carpenters, had arisen in the province
of Hida. There was less temple building than in the Nara epoch and
more attention was given to the construction of elegant palaces for
court officials and nobles. But these were built of wood and were far
from being massive or imposing. As in other periods of Japanese
architecture, the exterior was sacrificed to the interior where there
were choice woodworking and joinery in beautiful woods, and
occasionally screen-or wall-painting as decoration. There was still
little house-furnishing. Mats (tatami), fitted together so as to
cover the floor evenly, were not used until the very close of the
period; and then, too, sliding doors began to be used as partitions.
The coverings of these doors, silk or paper, were the "walls" for
Japanese mural paintings of the period. As the tatami came into more
general use, the bedstead of the earlier period, which was itself a
low dais covered with mats and with posts on which curtains and nets
might be hung, went out of use, being replaced by silken quilts
spread on the floor-mats. Cushions and arm-rests were the only other
important pieces of furniture.

COSTUME

In the Heian epoch, Court costume was marked by the two
characteristics that we have seen elsewhere in the
period--extravagance and convention. Indeed, it may be said that
Chinese dress and etiquette, introduced after the time of Kwammu were
the main source of the luxury of the period. Costume was extreme, not
alone in being rich and costly, but in amount of material used.
Princely and military head-dresses were costly, jewelled, and
enormously tall, and women wore their hair, if possible, so that it
trailed below their elaborate skirts. Men's sleeves and trousers were
cut absurdly large and full; and women's dress was not merely baggy
but voluminous. At a palace fete in 1117 the extreme of elegance was
reached by ladies each wearing a score or so of different coloured
robes. In this period the use of costly and gorgeous brocades and
silks with beautiful patterns and splendid embroideries began.

Women at Court, and the Court dandies who imitated them, painted
artificial eye-brows high on the forehead, shaving or plucking out
the real brows, powdered and rouged their faces and stained their
teeth black.

ART

Ceramics did not advance in the Heian epoch, but in all other
branches of art there were rapid strides forward. The development of
interior decoration in temples, monasteries, and palaces was due to
progress on the part of lacquerers and painters. Gold lacquer,
lacquer with a gold-dust surface (called nashi-ji), and lacquer
inlaid with mother-of-pearl were increasingly used. Thanks in part to
the painters' bureau (E-dokoro) in the palace, Japanese painters
began to be ranked with their Chinese teachers. Koze Kanaoka was the
first to be thus honored, and it is on record that he was engaged to
paint figures of arhats on the sliding doors of the palace. The epoch
also boasted Fujiwara Tameuji, founder of the Takuma family of
artists, and Fujiwara Motomitsu, founder of the Tosa academy. The
sculpture of the time showed greater skill, but less grandeur of
conception, than the work of the Nara masters. Sculpture in wood was
important, dating especially from the 11th century. Jocho, possibly
the greatest of the workers in this medium, followed Chinese models,
and carved a famous Buddha for Michinaga's temple of Hosho-ji (1022).
Jocho's descendant Unkei was the ancestor of many busshi or sculptors
of Buddhist statues; and Kwaikei, a pupil of Unkei's brother Jokaku,
is supposed to have collaborated with Unkei on the great
gate-guardians of the Todai-ji temple. It is important to note that,
especially in the latter half of the Heian epoch, painters and
sculptors were usually men of good family. Art had become
fashionable.

Two minor forms of sculpture call for special attention. The
decoration of armour reached a high pitch of elaboration; and the
beautiful armour of Minamoto Yoshitsune is still preserved at Kasuga,
Nara. And masks to be used in mimetic dances, such as the No,
received attention from many great glyptic artists.

ENGRAVING: RAKAN (BUDDHIST DISCIPLE) (Carving in Stone at Horiuji)

AGRICULTURE

In the year 799, cotton-seed, carried by an Indian junk which drifted
to the coast of Mikawa, was sown in the provinces of Nankai-do and
Saikai-do, and fifteen years later, when Saga reigned, tea plants
were brought from overseas and were set out in several provinces. The
Emperor Nimmyo (834-850) had buckwheat sown in the home provinces
(Kinai), and the same sovereign encouraged the cultivation of
sorghum, panic-grass, barley, wheat, large white beans, small red
beans, and sesame. It was at this time that the ina-hata (paddy-loom)
was devised for drying sheaves of rice before winnowing. Although it
was a very simple implement, it nevertheless proved of such great
value that an Imperial command was issued urging its wide use. In
short, in the early years of the Heian epoch, the Throne took an
active part in promoting agriculture, but this wholesome interest
gradually declined in proportion to the extension of tax-free manors
(shoen).

TRADE

The story of trade resembled that of agriculture prosperous
development at the beginning of the era, followed by stagnation and
decline. Under Kwummu (782-805) and his immediate successors, canals
and roads were opened, irrigation works were undertaken, and coins
were frequently cast. But coins were slow in finding their way into
circulation, and taxes were generally paid in kind. Nevertheless, for
purposes of trade, prices of staples were fixed in terms of coin.
Thus in the year 996, a koku (about 5 bushels) of rice was the
equivalent of 1000 cash (ik-kan-mon); a koku of barley was valued at
2500 cash, and a hiki (25 yards) of silk at 2000 cash. Yet in actual
practice, commodities were often assessed in terms of silk or rice.
Goods were packed in stores (kura) or disposed on shelves in shops
(machi-ya), and at ports where merchantmen assembled there were
houses called tsuya (afterwards toiya) where wholesale transactions
were conducted on the commission system.

The city of Kyoto was divided into two parts, an eastern capital
(Tokyo) and a western capital (Saikyo). During the first half of
every month all commercial transactions were conducted in the eastern
capital, where fifty-one kinds of commodities were sold in fifty-one
shops; and during the second half the western capital alone was
frequented, with its thirty-three shops and thirty-three classes of
goods. After the abolition of embassies to China, at the close of the
ninth century, oversea trade declined for a time. But the inhabitants
of Tsukushi and Naniwa, which were favourably located for voyages,
continued to visit China and Korea, whence they are reported to have
obtained articles of value. Other ports frequented by foreign-going
ships were Kanzaki, Eguchi, Kaya, Otsu, and Hakata.

SUPERSTITION

Turning to the inner life of the people in the Heian epoch, we may
say with little fear of exaggeration that the most notable thing was
the increase of superstition.



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