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13 -- Part 7: States and Cultures in East Asia
A woman is lying in bed after her lover takes a break.
She is covered up with a light robe that has a lining of dark violet and is fresh and glossy.
It is so hot in the seventh month that even at night one might be spending the night here and keeping all the doors and lattices open.
It was delightful to recently get up to leave, just as he did.
The man might have felt the charm of the dew.
He looks around the room and sees a moon in the sky.
I like to see a bright new straw mat that has just been spread out, and at the foot of her curtain of state on a polished floor.
Koryo V court was unsure of how to respond when he saw some narrow strips of Michinoku paper.
He founded the Choson Dynasty.
During the seventh and eighth centuries, the Japanese ruling house pursued a vigorous policy of adopting useful ideas, techniques, and policies from the more advanced civilization of China.
The rulers built a capital along Chinese lines that fostered the growth of Buddhism.
The woman sees a smile on the man's face as he leans against the wall, looking up from under her bed.
She can tell at once that he is the kind of man she needs.
She doesn't want to have a relationship with him, and she is annoyed that he didn't see her sleep.
The man leaned forward so that the upper part of his body came behind the curtains.
Women were able to choose different designs and colors for their robes while wearing multiple layers of clothing.
In drafty homes, the layers kept them warm.
There is something delightful about the scene because of the new visitor.
The gentleman leans further forward and it becomes unseemly for him to stay.
He is amused to think that there is a similar scene taking a pillow.
She moved further back in the house he left earlier that morning.
There is a sound of people's voices, and it looks as if the sun will rise soon.
The mists had time to clear and what sorts of images does Sei Shonagon evoke?
The new capital was built at Heian.
Heian was modeled after the Tang capital of Chang'an.
The decline of the Tang Dynasty in the late ninth century turned away the government from following Chinese models for the first cen tury at Heian.
The last official embassy to China was in 894.
Japan had a literary and cultural flowering under the rule of the Fujiwara family.
The first two Heian emperors were heavily involved in governing.
The Fujiwara family supplied most of the empresses in this period, as political management was taken over by a group of regents.
In China, when a dynasty weakened, military strongmen would try to dethrone the emperor and create their own dynasties.
For the next thousand years, Japanese political candidates sought to manipulate the emperors rather than plant them.
Under Fujiwara Michinaga, the Fujiwaras reached the apogee of their glory.
He was the father of four empresses, the uncle of two emperors, and the grandfather of three emperors.
He built palaces for himself and his family.
He retired to a Buddhist monastery after ensuring that his sons could continue to rule.
Their young sons were on the throne.
The imperial house used to be a con to control his son on the throne.
The Heian period saw the development of a brilliant aristocratic culture.
nobles, palace ladies, and imperial family members lived a highly refined and leisured life in the capital at Heian.
Their society valued niceties of birth, rank, and breeding.
From their diaries, we know of the pains of wearing a dress.
Presentations and knowing how to dress nicely were more important than skill with a horse or sword.
Both men and women at court were concerned with the elegance of one's calligraphy and allusions in one's poems.
The courtiers didn't like to leave the capital, and the court lady was afraid of the ordinary working people.
A new script was developed for writing in Japanese.
One of the syllables used in Japanese was represented by one of the symbols.
Although essays, histories, and government documents are written in Chinese, less formal works such as poetry and memoirs were written in Japanese.
It took less time to master the new writing system than it did to master the old one.
Lady Murasaki wrote this long narrative.
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