Chapter 7 -- Part 3: East Asia and the Spread of Buddhism 221
The Horyuji compound is surrounded by a wall.
There is a multistory building on the right side of the gate.
The pagoda on the left is 122 feet tall.
There is a fragment of the Buddha in this building.
The main hall is built to hold the temple's main images.
A fire in 1949 destroyed the wall paintngs that were used to depict Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in these images.
The statues and buildings are now classified as national treasures.
The lecture hall is behind the pagoda and main hall.
The pagoda could be seen from a distance, like the steeples of cathedrals in Europe.
Outside the main compound, most of the buildings are of a later date and include monks' quarters, libraries, and dining halls.
Japan was far enough from the mainland to escape most of the epidemics.
An order was issued by the Japanese central government to the provincial governments after the arrival of a devastating epidemic.
The Byzantine historian Procopius wrote an account of the plague that hit Constantinople.
It's similar to autumnal illnesses when it first starts.
In some cases, it lasts for three or four days, in others it lasts for five or six.
As the swellings appear, the limbs and internal organs become hot as if on fire.
Keep the patient warm.
Do not lie on the earth when there is no floor.
Lie down on a straw mat.
We recommend the drinking of rice gruel, either thick or thin, and the soup made from boiled rice or millet.
Don't eat raw fish or fresh fruits and vegetables.
Do not drink water or suck ice.
People with this illness have no appetite.
The patient should be forced to eat.
For twenty days after the illness passes, do not eat raw fish or fresh fruit or vegetables, drink water, have sex, or walk in the rain.
If you do it too much, a relapse will start immediately.
If you want to bring this illness under control, do not use pills or powders.
Take a small amount of ginseng boiled in water.
All of the capital and Kinai have been affected by this disease since the 4th month.
People in the provinces have been affected by this distress.
This set of instructions has been written.
It should be sent to the governor's neighbor.
When it arrives, make a copy and designate a higher-ranking official at the district office to act as the messenger.
The instructions to the people will be announced by the provincial office.
If there is no rice for gruel, the province will make an estimate, grant grain relief from government stores, and report to the Council.
Carry the order out when it arrives.
The human race came close to being wiped out by a pestilence.
I stayed at Byzantium in the middle of spring in the second year.
The people who were attending the victims were in a state of constant exhaustion and had a hard time eating.
Many died because they were either overcome by hunger or thrown down from a height because no one cared for them.
Many also vomited blood and straightway brought death.
Provision for the trouble was made by the emperor's lot.
Theodorus was given the money by the emperor and used it to bury the dead.
When the tombs were filled with the dead, they dug up all the places in the city that had previously been there, and laid the dead there, each one as he could, and left.
It was running riot in a city that was abundant in all good things.
The first document is a decree issued during an epidemic, and the second is a narrative looking back on an epidemic that has already run its course.
After unifying China in 221 B.C.E., the Qin Dynasty created a strong centralized government that did away with noble privilege.
The First Emperor's script, coinage, weights, and measures were standardized.
He built roads, the Great Wall, and a tomb for himself.
The strong centralized government of the Han Dynasty was preserved even though harsher laws of the Qin were lifted.
Relief for floods, droughts, and famines was one of the ways the Han government promoted internal peace.
The Han government sent huge armies against the Xiongnu, who were threatening them in the north.
Han armies expanded Chinese territory in many directions.
After the fall of the Han Dynasty, China was divided into several states.
The south had Chinese rulers, while the north had non- Chinese rulers.
Merchants and missionaries brought Buddhism to China.
A huge body of scriptures, celibate monks and nuns, traditions of depicting Buddhas and bodhisattvas in statues and paintings, and a strong proselytizing tradition were new to China.
In the north and south, rulers became major patrons.
China was reunified in 589 C.E.
The Tang Dynasty was followed by the Sui Dynasty.
Overlordship of the Silk Road cities in Central Asia was regained by Tang China.
One of the highlights of the Tang period was its achievements in poetry.
There were instruments and tunes from Persia.
The power of the Tang fell after a powerful general turned his army against the government.
The government was not able to regain its control despite the rebellion being suppressed.
Powerful states were formed along Tang's borders.
The eunuchs gained power at the court.
Over the ten centuries covered in Chapter 7, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam developed their own cultures while incorporating elements of China's material, political, and religious culture.
Korean and Japanese rulers sought Chinese expertise and Chinese products, including Chinese-style centralized governments and the Chinese written language.
Between the unification of China in 221 B.C.E.
and the millennium, East Asia was transformed.
The Tang Dynasty proved that a centralized, bureaucratic monarchy could bring peace and prosperity to populations of 50 million or more spread across China proper.
New ways of thinking about life and death and new ways of pursuing spiritual goals were brought about by Buddhism.
In the same centuries that Buddhism was adapting to and simultaneously transforming the culture of much of eastern Eurasia, similar processes were at work in western Eurasia, where Christianity continued to spread.
Increased contact between different cultures was one of the reasons for the spread of these religions.
In Africa, contact between cultures was more extensive, but in other parts of the world, religious beliefs were more local.
The collapse of the Roman Empire in the West was similar to the collapse of the Han Dynasty in China, but in Europe the empire was never put back together like it was in China.
The rise of Christianity and Islam and the movement of peoples throughout Europe and Asia is the story of these centuries.
We will look at the empires in Africa and the Americas before we return to the story of East Asia after 800.
Explain the significance of each item.
What cultural elements in pre-imperial China help explain China's development after 221 B.C.E.
The rise and fall of dynasties in China and the rise and fall of nomadic confederations that derived resources from them are the subject of a bold interpretation.
The impact of the introduction of smallpox to Japan on the government and rural power structure is shown.
Hardy shows how he brings out different perspectives and interpretations in different chapters, even though Sima Qian seems to present just the facts.
The use of the Chinese script is emphasized in the analysis of the connections between China and Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.
The place of the western regions is shown in Tang literature.
Contributors compare legal and military institutions.
A well-balanced introduction to Korean history.
A biography of a Tang official draws heavily on his poetry.
The introduction to China's encounter with Buddhism is a good one.
There is a documentary on the Buddhist caves carved in the fifth century.
A good overview of Confucianism, Chinese poetry, classical Japan, and other topics can be found on the website run by Columbia University.