Unit 3 AN AGE OF ACCELERATING CONNECTIONS 500–1500 Chapter 9 East Asian Connections, 300-1300 Notes, Part II DO NOW Questions: • • • • Based on this chapter, how would you respond to the idea that China was a self-contained or isolated civilization? Many developments noted in this chapter oppose this idea, including China’s active participation in long-distance trade; the tribute system, which established ties with China’s neighbors; and the influence of Buddhism on Chinese society. Also contradicting this idea are the popularity for a time during the Tang dynasty of “western barbarian” music, dancing, clothing, foods, games, and artistic styles among the upper classes; the influence of pastoral and nomadic peoples on China; and the spread of Chinese technological innovations to other parts of the world. China’s adoption of outside crops and technology, including cotton, sugar, and the processing techniques for these crops from India, as well as fast-ripening rice from Vietnam, and the cosmopolitan nature of China’s port cities contradict the notion that China was isolated. However, in defense of the idea, one could point to the perception of the educated Chinese elite that China was self-sufficient, requiring little from the outside world. 1. Document 9.1 (406) - Japanese Political Ideas SHOTOKU, The Seventeen Article Constitution, 604 2. Document 9.2 (408) - DOGEN, Writings on Zen Buddhism, Thirteenth Century 3. Document 9.5 (414 & 415)- SHIBA YOSIMASA, Advice to Young Samurai, ca. 1400 -AND- IMAGAWA RYOSHUN, The Imagawa Letter, 1412 *4. Visual Sources (417) - Considering the Evidence: The Leisure Life of China’s Elites Chapter 9 Documents! Students will read (in groups) and discuss these sources from chapter 9. Each group will do one document and also the visual sources. We will have 6 groups. After reading and discussing in the group, they will present and discuss with the class: Groups 1&2. Document 9.1 - Japanese Political Ideas The 17th Article Constitution (406) Groups 3&4. Document 9.2 - Writings on Zen Buddhism (408) Groups 5&6. Document 9.5 - Advice to Young Samurai -AND- The Imagawa Letter (414 & 415) EVERYONE: Visual Sources - Considering the Evidence: The Leisure Life of China’s Elites (417) Document 9.1: Japanese Political Ideals Q. What elements of Buddhist, Confucian, or Legalist thinking are reflected in this document? (Review pp. 192-197 and Documents 4.3 (pp. 174–175) and 5.1 (pp. 217–219.) •1 calls on people not to disobey their lords and fathers, reflecting Confucian thinking. •2 explicitly calls for respect for the Buddha and his teachings. •3 reflects legalist principles by requiring obedience to imperial commands, and Confucian values when it requires that an inferior yield to his or her superior. •4 is based on the Confucian thinking that in every case the superior has a duty to provide a model of good behavior that others can copy. •5 requires officials to avoid attachment, reflecting Buddhist thinking. •6 requires officials to punish those who do bad and reward those who do good. This admonishment refers indirectly to the two handles promoted by the Legalist writer Han Fei in Document 4.3. •7 draws on Confucian thinking: it requires each man to fulfill his duty, requires wise men to be placed in positions of authority, and asserts that wisdom comes through study. •11 admonishes officials to punish the wicked and reward the virtuous. This admonishment refers indirectly to the two handles promoted by the Legalist writer Han Fei in Document 4.3. •12 requires that only one sovereign and one law reign supreme in the kingdom; its tone could be interpreted as Legalist. •15 is Confucian in its concept, as Confucius required ministers in positions of authority to subjugate their personal interests to those of society. •17 places all authority with the leader but requires the ruler to listen to respectful council, reflecting Confucian concepts. Document 9.1: Japanese Political Ideals Q. What can you infer about the internal problems that Japanese rulers faced? •Local feuds undermined peace and imperial authority •Imperial commands were not always obeyed. •Ministers did not always act with decorum and without selfinterest. •The guilty were not always punished. •Local authorities sometimes levied taxes without imperial permission. •Peasants were sometimes forced to labor during the summer. Q. How might Shotoku define an ideal Japanese state? •The state would be headed by an emperor who was obeyed in all things. •It would be administered by well-trained and selfless ministers dedicated to the good of the state and society. •The law would be enforced fairly rewarding the good and punishing the bad. •Local authority would defer to imperial authority. •The Buddhist faith would be respected within the realm. Q. Why do you think Shotoku omitted any mention of traditional Japanese gods or the Japanese claim that their emperor was descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu? •This document was intended to provide guidelines for court officials and thus need not explicitly refer to the ultimate sources of imperial political authority. •The ultimate sources of imperial political authority were widely accepted by court officials and therefore need not be reiterated in this document. Document 9.2: Buddhism in Japan: The Zen Tradition Q. What was distinctive about Zen practice? • Distinctive to Zen practice was the importance of transmitting teachings from master to disciple in an unbroken line; the long periods of meditation undertaken at least by monks, and the concept that samādhi (concentration) is the true path of awakening. Q. Why do you think Zen was particularly attractive for Japan’s warlords and its samurai warrior class? • Zen fostered mental self-discipline which would be useful to a samurai. • It provided a path to salvation for those involved in a dangerous and unpredictable profession. Q. What distinguished Zen from Pure Land Buddhism in Japan? • Zen rejected the role of the Amida Buddha and the nembutsu in salvation, as well as the use of incense, worshipful prostrations, repentance, and chanting scripture. • It instead focuses on teachings that are purported to stretch via direct lineages to the Buddha, and lengthy meditation to “slough off body mind.” Q. What understandings lie behind the strict discipline of Zen? How might Buddhist critics of this approach take issue with Dogen? • Samādhi (concentration) is the true path of awakening, a good teacher is essential, and lengthy meditation is the key to Buddhist practice. • A follower of the Pure Land tradition might argue that belief in the divine intercession of the Amida Buddha, not long periods of meditation, is the key to life after this one, and Dogen makes the Buddha’s message too much about meditation and discipline rather than the promise of the next life. • Other Buddhists might question his rejection of incense lighting, worshipful protestations, repentance, and chanting scripture, all of which play important roles in other Buddhist traditions. Shogun: Military Leader of Japan; the emperor was ruler in name only • Daimyo: “Heads of Great Families” Controlled vast landed estates • Relied on protection from samurai • A number of families came to rule Japan Japan’s Samurai Warriors – Controlled Japan for 400 years This video explains how the Samurai sword was created over 800 years ago. It also shows the Samurai Japanese castles. Samurai (those who serve) VIDEO: “Feudal Japan” Indigenous Religion of Japan Shinto “the Way of the Gods” It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Currently 119 Million Japanese that practice this religion. Document 9.5: The Way of the Warrior Q. Based on these accounts, how would you define the ideal samurai? • possess abilities in both the Arts of Peace and the Arts of War. • strive to maintain an honorable reputation, and use forethought and be circumspect. • willingly give up his life for the emperor during a time of need, and put the needs of the emperor, commoners, and retainers ahead of his own. • ideal samurai would practice moderation, loyalty, and filial piety. • show respect for Buddhist and Shinto shrines and Buddhist monks. Q. What elements of Confucian, Buddhist, or Shinto thinking can you find in these selections? How do these writers reconcile the peaceful emphasis of Confucian and Buddhist teachings with the military dimension of bushido? • “Advice to a Young Samurai” instructs the samurai to practice circumspection; to calm the mind, following a Buddhist model; and to be obedient to his parents in a manner that conforms to Confucian teachings. • Imagawa letter: complaints that the adopted son failed to develop the Arts of Peace, to treat his retainers and commoners fairly, to understand the difference in status between himself and others, to provide a positive role model for his followers, and to practice justice and respect for his ancestors all refer to his failure to adhere to Confucian teachings. • In terms of reconciling the peaceful emphasis of Buddhist and Confucian teachings with the military dimension of the bushido, the documents emphasize that violence and taking life is reprehensible if conducted for personal gain but done for a noble cause, such as the needs of the sovereign, it is noble and sometimes necessary. Q. What does the Imagawa letter suggest about the problems facing the military rulers of Japan in the fourteenth century? • Abusive local lords were destabilizing the kingdom by fleecing commoners, plundering shrines, and impeding the flow of travelers. • Values of selfless service among some Samurai were being replaced by pleasure seeking and poor rule that relied too much on military might. A Banquet with the Emperor Leading court officials and scholar-bureaucrats must have been greatly honored to be invited to an elegant banquet, hosted by the emperor himself, such as that shown in Visual Source 9.1. Usually attributed to the emperor Huizong (1082–1135)—who was himself a noted painter, poet, calligrapher, and collector— the painting shows a refined dinner gathering of high officials drinking tea and wine with the emperor presiding at the left. This emperor’s great attention to the arts rather than to affairs of state gained him a reputation as a negligent and dissolute ruler. His reign ended in disgrace as China suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of northern nomadic Jin people, who took the emperor captive. Visual Source 9.1: A Banquet with the Emperor Q. What features of this painting contribute to the impression of imperial elegance? • the elaborate place settings • the plentiful food on the table and elaborate tea service in the foreground • the emperors dress and positioning alone on one side of the table Q. What social distinction among the figures in the painting can you discern? • The emperor is set off from the others in his white robe. • The participants at the banquet are all dressed in two-part outfits, with a white garment covered in part by richly colored outer garments that represent elite status. • The servants are dressed in single colored uniforms. Q. How is the emperor depicted in this painting in comparison to that on p. 388? How would you explain the difference? • The emperor is displayed in a less formal setting than in the painting on page 388, for he is not seated on a throne. He is not attended by court bureaucrats in their official functions, nor are any of the figures in this painting ritually prostrating themselves or showing other signs of reverence. • Unlike the scene depicted on page 388, this image depicts an informal, semiprivate event where formal court protocol is not observed. Q. How might you imagine the conversation around this table? • The conversation focuses on matters of entertainment or amusement rather than issues of state. • The conversation is unstructured, with several individual conversations taking place at one time. • The emperor is participating in the conversation rather than dominating it. At Table with the Empress Elite women of the court likewise gathered to eat, drink, and talk, as illustrated in Visual Source 9.2, an anonymous Tang dynasty painting on silk. Hosting the event is the empress, shown seated upright in the middle of the left side of the table, holding a fan and wearing a distinctive headdress. Her guests and paid professional musicians sit around the table. Visual Source 9.2: At Table with the Empress Q. How does this gathering of elite women differ from that of the men in Visual Source 9.1? How might their conversation differ from that of the men? • The women have musicians present at the table, and they wear more elaborate dress and make up. The empress is not as set apart from her guests as is the emperor. • The conversation still remains informal, but is more likely to focus on issues of relevance to elite courtier women. Q. To what extent are the emperor and empress in Visual Sources 9.1 and 9.2 distinguished from their guests? How do you think the emperor and empress viewed their roles at these functions? Were they acting as private persons among friends or in an official capacity? • The emperor is more distinguished from other participants than the empress; he wears distinctly different clothing and is the only person seated on his side of the table. • The emperor and empress might see themselves as hosts and participants, albeit participants with a unique status at the function, and at a less formal social setting. • Students might argue that the emperor and empress are participating as private persons among friends, but such a status would be artificial, as the imperial status of a Chinese emperor or empress cannot be fully separated from the person. Q. What differences in status among these women can you identify? • The empress is not dressed in a manner that distinguishes her from her courtiers as clearly as the emperor in Visual Source 9.1, but students could point out that she is the most elaborately dressed at the table. • The participants in the event who are seated but not playing instruments represent elite women of the imperial court. • The musicians represent a third level of status in the scene. • The servant to the bottom left of the scene represents the lowest status. Q. What view of these women does the artist seek to convey? • an informal view of these women at leisure • a view of these women partaking in socializing separate from men A Literary Gathering Confucian cultural ideals gave great prominence to literature, poetry, and scholarly pursuits as leisure activities appropriate for “gentlemen” (see pp. 193–95). Confucius himself had declared that “gentlemen make friends through literature, and through friendship increase their benevolence.” Thus literary gatherings of scholars and officials, often in garden settings, were common themes in Tang and Song dynasty paintings. Visual Source 9.3, by the tenth-century painter Zhou Wenju, provides an illustration of such a gathering. Visual Source 9.3: A Literary Gathering Q. What marks these figures as cultivated men of literary or scholarly inclination? • the scroll held by the man second from the left • the writing materials held by the man on the far right • their contemplative poses and expressions Q. What meaning might you attribute to the outdoor garden setting of this image and that of Visual Source 9.1? • Outdoors is where leisure time should ideally be spent, according to Chinese cultural practice. • Daoist ideas shaped leisure activities. • Outdoor leisure activities were undertaken by the emperor and the educated elite in Chinese society. Q. Notice the various gazes of the four figures. What do they suggest about the character of this gathering and the interpersonal relationships among its participants? • The gazes indicate that the four figures are actively engaged in personal contemplation rather than conversation. • While they are physically gathered as a group, they are primarily engaged in individual study and contemplation. Q. Do you think the artist seeks to convey an idealized image of what a gathering of officials ought to be or a realistic portrayal of an actual event? What elements of the painting support your answer? • Students could argue that the artist is conveying an idealized image, since the tree and rock set against a blank background does not seem to depict a specific site but rather an idealized garden setting, and the deep personal thought in which each figure is engaged could be interpreted as idealized. • Conversely, students could claim that it’s possible that the facial features and dress of each figure depict real rather than idealized people; the distinctive shape of the tree may indicate a specific place; the distinctive box on the rock might depict a real box; and the specific positioning of each figure could depict a narrative scene. Solitary Reflection Chinese scholars and bureaucrats are often shown, in their leisure hours, as solitary contemplatives, immersing themselves in nature. The famous Song dynasty painter Ma Yuan (1160–1225) depicted such an image in his masterpiece entitled On a Mountain Path in Spring. In Visual Source 9.4, a scholar walks in the countryside watching several birds, while his servant trails behind carrying his master’s qin (lute). A short poem in the upper right reads: Brushed by his sleeves, wild flowers dance in the wind; Fleeing from him, the hidden birds cut short their songs. Visual Source 9.4: Solitary Reflection Q. How would you define the mood of this painting? What techniques did Ma Yuan use to evoke this mood? • The painting evokes a longing for withdrawal from this world, for solitary contemplation in the wilderness. • The relative size of the two human figures help to evoke the mood, as does the emphasis on an expansive wilderness setting. Q. How might this painting reflect the perspectives of Daoism (see pp. 195– 197)? How does it differ from the more Confucian tone of Visual Source 9.3? • Students could point out that the figure in this painting is actively pursuing the Daoist beliefs of abandonment of learning and human relationships by withdrawing from the world, and appreciation of nature, which the misty scene evokes. • The natural landscape was a common motif in Daoist painting. • This painting differs profoundly in tone from Visual 9.3, which emphasizes community rather than withdrawal from this world and betterment through thought and learning, and focuses on the humans in the scene rather than the grandeur of nature. Q. What relationship with nature does this painting convey? • The painting displays the man and his servant as relatively small in an expansive natural setting. • The accompanying poem and the positioning of the figures in the painting emphasize a man immersing himself in nature. • The man is seeking to commune with nature and withdraw from the world, not alter nature. An Elite Night Party Not all was poetry and contemplation of nature in the leisure-time activities of China’s elite. Nor were men and women always so strictly segregated as the preceding visual sources may suggest. Visual Source 9.5 illustrates another side of Chinese elite life. Visual Source 9.5: An Elite Night Party Q. What kinds of entertainment were featured at this gathering? • There is music, dancing, food and drink, and sleeping areas, which imply that sex was also part of the entertainment. Q. What aspects of these parties shown in the scroll paintings might have caused the emperor some concern? Refer back to the “singsong girls,” shown on p. 253. In what respects might these kinds of gatherings run counter to Confucian values? • The emperor may have been concerned about the enjoyment of leisure activities in an immoderate way and the failure of Han Xizai to provide a good role model for other high ranking officials and subordinates. • In specifically Confucian terms, if Han Xizai were married, the neglect of his familial responsibilities would be a concern, as would his failure to provide a suitable example of good behavior for subordinates and his failure to maintain moderation in all things. Q. How are women portrayed in these images? In what ways are they relating to the men in the paintings? • Women are portrayed as entertainers, both playing music and dancing; as servants delivering drinks to men; and as companions standing next to men. • On the far right in the bed alcove, a foot and leg protruding from the alcove may represent a woman engaging in sexual activities. An Elite Night Party These images are part of a long tenth-century scroll painting entitled The Night Revels of Han Xizai. Apparently, the Tang dynasty emperor Li Yu became suspicious that one of his ministers, Han Xizai, was overindulging in suspicious night-long parties in his own home. He therefore commissioned the artist Gu Hongzhong to attend these parties secretly and to record the events in a painting, which he hoped would shame his wayward but talented official into more appropriate and dignified behavior. The entire scroll shows men and women together, sometimes in flirtatious situations, while open sleeping areas suggest sexual activity. How can you explain the changing fortunes of Buddhism in China? Visual Source 5.4 The Chinese Maitreya Buddha • • • • • • • Visual Source 5.5 The Amitabha Buddha Buddhism first grew in influence in China during a period of disorder following the collapse of the Han dynasty, a time when many in China had lost faith in Chinese systems of thought. Buddhism also benefited from the support of foreign nomadic rulers who during this period governed portions of northern China. Once established, Buddhism grew for a number of reasons: Buddhist monasteries provided an array of social services to ordinary people; Buddhism was associated with access to magical powers; there was a serious effort by Buddhist monks and scholars to present this Indian religion in terms that the Chinese could relate to; and under the Sui and Tang dynasties, Buddhism received growing state support. However, it declined during the ninth century because some perceived the Buddhist establishment as a challenge to imperial authority. There was also a deepening resentment of the enormous wealth of Buddhist monasteries. Buddhism was offensive to some Confucian and Daoist thinkers because Buddhism was clearly of foreign origin and because the practices of Buddhist monks undermined the ideal of the family. Imperial decrees in the 840s shut down Buddhist monasteries, and the state confiscated Buddhist resources. Map 9.2 The World of Asian Buddhism Born in India, Buddhism later spread widely throughout much of Asia to provide a measure of cultural or religious commonality across this vast region. How did China influence the world beyond East Asia? • Chinese products, especially silk, were key to the Afro-Eurasian trade networks. • Chinese technologies, including those related to shipbuilding, navigation, gunpowder, and printing, spread to other regions of Eurasia. How was China itself transformed by its encounters with a wider world? • Buddhism from South Asia had a profound impact on China. • China’s growing trade with the rest of the world made it the richest country in the world. • It also became the most highly commercialized society in the world, with regions, especially in the south, producing for wider markets rather than for local consumption. • China adopted cotton and sugar crops and the processes for refining them from South Asia.