Chapter 13 -- Part 2: States and Cultures in East Asia
As soon as girls are born to them, mothers are accustomed to swathe their feet tightly so that they can never grow in the least, because the great beauty is to have little feet.
Western visitors to China in the 19th and early 20th century found the practice of binding women's feet strange and took photographs of women who were willing to pose with their feet uncovered.
The anti-foot-binding movement led most people to give up the practice, but these two photographs were taken in the early twentieth century.
Few men mention foot binding in their writings.
Use the sources above, along with what you have learned in class and in this chapter, to write a short essay about the early stages of foot binding in China.
The Mongols conquered China in stages, gaining much of north China by 1215, but not taking the south until the 1270s.
The north was the hardest hit.
The Jin Dynasty of the Jurchen thought they had the strongest army in history.
They were frustrated by the tactics of the Mongols.
The Jin would take the city back and deal with the food shortages and destruction caused by the Mongols plundering it.
The power collapsed under these circumstances.
The Song Dynasty was defeated by Great Khan and south China was taken over by the Yuan Dynasty.
In Chinese history, non- Chinese rulers have gained control of north China, but they have not been able to control the region south of the Yangzi River.
By the 1260s, Chinese shipbuilders were put to work on building a fleet, which was crucial to his victory over the Song.
Life in China under the Mongols was similar to life in China under earlier alien rulers.
People did their best to get on with their lives after order was restored.
Some people were deprived of their land, business or freedom.
People still spoke Chinese, followed Chinese customary practices in dividing their family property, and celebrated the new year at local temples.
The classics were taught by teachers, scholars continued to write books, and books continued to be printed.
The social mobility of Chinese society was not desirable for the Mongols.
They assigned people hereditary occupations such as farmer, Confucian scholar, physician, astrologer, soldier, artisan, salt producer, miner, and Buddhist monk; the occupations came with obligations to the state.
The population was divided into four grades, with the Mongols occupying the top one.
The Uighurs and Persians came next.
The Han were Chinese former subjects of the Jurchen.
The former subjects of the Song were called southerners.
The painting by the Chinese artist Zhao Yong would appeal to the rulers of the Mongol empire, who had a close relationship with their horses.
The purpose of codifying ethnic differences this way was to preserve the privileges of the Mongols.
Chinese were not allowed to take Mongol names, and great efforts were made to keep them from marrying Mongols.
They were not allowed to own weapons or congregate in public.
The Chinese were recruited into the armies and government of the Mongols.
Some people argued that the Chinese would fare better if they were the administrators and that they could shield Chinese society from the most brutal effects of Mongol rule.
Government service, which had been central to the identity and income of the educated elite in China, was not as widely available under the Mongols.
Half of the places in the bureaucracy were reserved for Mongols after the civil service exams were reinstituted in 1315.
Alternative ways to support themselves were used by the scholar-official elite.
Those who did not have land to live off of found work were physicians, fortune-tellers, children's teachers, Daoist priests, publishers, booksellers, and playwrights.
Many took leadership roles at the local level, such as founding academies for Confucian learning.
Scholars without government offices could see themselves as trustees of the Confucian tradition by asserting the importance of civil over military values.
They tried to keep paper money in the Grand Canal but it was ruined during their initial conquest of north China.
Chinese industries with strong foreign markets flourished.
The economic expansion of late Tang and Song times did not continue under the rule of the Jurchens and Mongols.
In the 1330s, disease, rebellions, and poor leadership led to disorder in the country.
When a Chinese strongman consolidated the south, the Mongol rulers retreated to the other side of the world.
By 1368, the Yuan Dynasty had been replaced by a new Chinese dynasty.
Korea was closely tied to Tang China and copied China's model during the Silla period.
Between 800 and 1400 there was a lot of change in North Asia.
Korea lived in the shadows of the powerful states of the Khitans, Jurchens, and Mongols.
After the king was killed in a revolt, the Silla Dynasty began to decline.
For the next 155 years, rebellions and coups d'etat followed one after the other, as different groups of nobles placed their candidates on the throne and killed as many of their opponents as they could.
The dynasty that emerged from this confusion was called Koryo.
Korea was more independent of the China model during this time.
The Koryo capital was laid out on the Chinese model and the government was similar to the Tang system.
Despite Chinese influence, Korean society was still very nice.
The founder of the dynasty, Wang Kon, needed the support of the old aristocracy to maintain control.
The Chinese model of civil service exams was introduced by his successors because the government schools only admitted the sons of the best educated people.
The number of people in the serf slave group seems to have increased.
Large numbers of government slaves as well as government workers in mines, porcelain factories, and other government industries were included in this lowborn stratum.
Some villages were considered lowborn.
There were occasional slave revolts, and some freed slaves did rise in status, but prejudice against anyone with slave ancestors was so strong that only if there is no evidence of lowborn status for eight generations in one's official household registration may one receive a position.
In China and Japan, slavery was not a major part of the social landscape.
The commercial economy in Korea declined.
The use of money declined in the countryside and there were no cities of commercial importance.
Ceramics was one industry that flourished.
monasteries became major centers of art and learning because of Buddhism.
In Song China and Kamakura Japan, Chan and Tiantai were the leading Buddhist teachings.
The founder of the Koryo Dynasty said that the dynasty's success was due to the protection of the Buddha.
The Buddhist canon was first printed in the eleventh century and again in the 13th.
The major abbacies were occupied by people who entered the church.
In Japan and China, some monasteries had military power.
The Koryo Dynasty was named after it after the ruling family lost most of their power.
In 1170, the palace guards massacred the civil officials at court and placed a new king on the throne.
The general Ch'oe Ch'ung-hon took control after a series of coups.
The Japanese shoguns followed a similar strategy because they were content to dominate the government while leaving the Koryo king on the throne.
More than eighty thousand woodblocks were used to print the huge Buddhist canon in the 13th century.
The monk is working on a block.
The wooden frames that keep the blocks from warping are carved on both sides.
When strong non-Chinese states emerged to its north in Manchuria, Korea was ready to accommodate them as well.
The state of Liao invaded and sacked Koryo's capital in the 10th century.
Koryo became a vassal in order to avoid destruction.
Koryo was able to repel the Khitans.
South of the Yalu River, a defensive wall was built.
Koryo agreed to send tribute to the Jurchens and their Jin Dynasty.
The figurehead Koryo kings were moved to Beijing where they married Mongol princesses, their descendants becoming more Mongol than Korean.
This was a time of hardship for the Korean people.
Two hundred thousand Koreans were taken away by the Mongols in the year 1254.
The land of Korea was used as a launching point for invasions of Japan.
The depredations of the Vikings in Europe were similar to the attacks by Japanese pirates in Korea.
The rule of the Mongols in China fell apart in the fourteenth century.
The capital of Korea was briefly captured by Chinese rebels in 1361.
The Koryo court didn't know how to respond when the Ming Dynasty was established in China.
Yi Song-gye was sent to fight the Ming army at the northwest frontier.
When he saw the strength of the Ming, he concluded that alliances were more sensible than fighting, and he led his troops back to the capital, founding the Choso n 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.
In less than a century, the court moved away from monasteries and encouraged other sects of Buddhism.
Heian is twenty-five miles away from the new capital.
Heian was modeled after the Tang capital of Chang'an.
The government continued to follow Chinese models for the first century at Heian, but it turned away from them in the late ninth century after the Tang Dynasty fell.
Japan witnessed a literary and cultural flowering under the rule of the Fujiwara family during the Heian period.
The first two Heian emperors were heavily involved in governing.
Most of the empresses in this period were supplied by regents from the Fujiwara family.
The emperors were honored, but the Fujiwaras ruled.
Fujiwara dominance was a return to clan politics and privatization of political power.
In China, when a dynasty weakened, military strongmen would try to dethrone the emperor and create their own dynasties.
In Japan for the next thousand years, political candidates tried to control the emperors.
Under Fujiwara Michinaga, the Fujiwaras reached the apogee of their glory.
He was educated in Buddhism, music, poetry, and Chinese literature and history.
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.
Several emperors who did not have Fujiwara mothers abdicated at the end of the eleventh century, but continued to exercise power by controlling their young sons on the throne.
The retired emperors took Buddhist orders and kept control of the government from behind the scenes.
A system in which an emperor retired to a monastery but continued to control his son on the throne.
The Heian period saw the development of a brilliant aristocratic culture.
In the capital at Heian, nobles, palace ladies, and imperial family members lived a highly refined and leisured life.
In their society, niceties of birth, rank, and breeding were important.
The elegance of one's calligraphy and allusions in one's poems were matters of intense concern to both men and women at court.
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.
Although essays, histories, and government documents continued to be written in Chinese, less formal works such as poetry and memoirs were written in Japanese.
The spread of literacy was aided by the fact that mastering the new writing system took less time than mastering writing in Chinese.
Women played important roles in society during the Heian period.
The ruler's empress and other consorts could have attendants who were educated in the arts and letters.
Women could inherit property from their parents, and they would compete with their brothers for shares of the family property.
One of the best ways to gain power in politics was to marry a daughter to an emperor or shogun, and women were often involved in power struggles.
Lady Murasaki wrote The Tale of Genji over several years.
A cast of characters are depicted in a long narrative with close attention to dialogue and personality.
The diary written by Murasaki is similar to the one written by him.
Lady Murasaki wrote a novel about court life.
Many women writers were in this period.
The wife of a high-ranking court official wrote a poetic memoir of her unhappy twentyyear marriage to him.
The love story of a hero who travels to China was the subject of an autobiography written by a woman.
A woman wrote a biography of Fujiwara Michinaga.
Buddhism was very strong during the Heian period.
Two monks were part of a mission sent to China.
The Buddhist teachings associated with Mount Tendai were brought back to life by one of the monks, Saicho.
All living beings can be brought to salvation according to Tendai's basic message.
One of the most important monasteries in Japan was established by Saicho after he returned to Japan.
A powerful army of monk-soldiers protected the interests of the monastery and its many branch temples in the twelfth century.
Shingon, or "True Word," is a form of Esoteric Buddhism based on the idea that the secrets of enlightenment had been transmitted from the Buddha.
People can gain access to the mysteries through initiation into the mandalas, mudras,gestures, and mantras.
After returning to Japan, Kukai attracted many followers and was allowed to establish a monastery at Mount Koya, south of Osaka.
Buddhist art was stimulated by the popularity of Esoteric Buddhism.
A sect of Buddhism claims that the secrets of enlightenment can be accessed through initiation into the mandalas and mudras.
Japan produced a number of great women writers.
Women were freer than men to write in Japanese at that time.
Lady Murasaki is the most famous of the women writers of the period, but her contemporary is equally noteworthy.
During the last decade of the tenth century, she was a lady in waiting to the empress.
The Pillow Book is a collection of notes, character sketches, anecdotes, descriptions of nature, and things that have lost their power.
The lovemaking/marriage system depicted in The Tale of Genji is depicted in The Pillow Book.
A man could have more than one wife.
The husbands and fathers would visit their wives and children in their own homes.
Even though a man had an heir by his wife, he could still establish relations with other women.
Men often had several lovers at the same time, but some relationships were long-term.
Some women became known as lovers with many conquests, others as abandoned women whose husbands ignored them.
This lovemaking system is looked at in the following passage from The Pillow Book.
I like to see a bright new straw mat spread out on the floor.
The front of the room is the best place to put the curtain of state.
It's pointless to put it in the back of the room as it's most unlikely that anyone will see it.
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.
The woman, who appears to be asleep, wears an orange robe and a dark red skirt with her cords hanging from her side, as if they have been left untied.
Her thick hair falls over each other in cascades, and one can imagine how long it takes for it to fall down her back.
A man is making his way home after a night out.
One can't tell whether the orange hunting costume he is wearing is dyed or not because it is so lightly coloured.
He must have tucked his hair into the headdress when he got up because of the dishevelment of his side locks.
He passes a house with an open lattice as he walks.
He is on his way to report for duty, but can't help himself from looking into the room.
It amuses him to think that a man might have been here for a while and only just got up to leave.
The man might have felt the charm of the dew.
Near the woman's pillow, he sees an open fan with a magnolia frame and purple paper, and at the foot of her curtain of state, he sees some narrow strips of Michinoku paper, either orange-red or maple.
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.
There is something delightful about the scene, even though their conversation is commonplace.
The gentleman is trying to get hold of the fan by the woman's pillow as he leans further forward.
She moved back into her curtain enclosure because she was afraid of him.
There is a sound of people's voices, and it looks as if the sun will rise soon.
The man was writing a letter before the mists had time to clear.
The woman's original lover has been busy with his own next-morning letter, and now, quite unexpectedly, the messenger arrives at her house.
The woman's servants can't deliver it to her because of the new visitor.
The gentleman should not stay any longer.
He is amused to think that a similar scene may be taking place in the house he left earlier that morning.
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The domination of the Fujiwaras and other Heian families was finally ended by the rise of a warrior elite.
There was a civil war between the Taira and Minamoto warrior clans.
Both clans relied on skilled warriors who were becoming a new social class.
A samurai and his lord had a double bond: in return for the samurai's loyalty and service, the lord gave the samurai land or income.
A Taira named Kiyomori ruled the court from 1159 to 1181 and married his daughter to the emperor.
His relatives were governors of many provinces.
Yoritomo became the general-in-chief of the Minamoto clan after they defeated the Taira.
The Kamakura Shogunate began with him.
The feudal period in Japan was dominated by a military class whose members were tied to their superiors by bonds of loyalty and supported by landed estates.
The similarities between military rule in Japan and feudalism in Europe during the same period have fascinated scholars.
The fusion of Germanic and Roman social institutions led to feudalism in Europe.
Military rule in Japan evolved from a combination of the native warrior tradition and Confucian ethical principles of duty to superiors.
Private landholding allowed the emergence of the samurai.
The land allocation system was copied from Tang China and broke down in the eighth century.
The local lord paid his protector a small rent after he received his land back as a tenant.
The local lord escaped imperial taxes and control because he received a steady income from the land.
Most of the land was taken off the tax rolls by the end of the 13th century.
In contrast to peasants in medieval Europe, those working the land in Japan never became serfs.
English and French lords lived on their manors, whereas Japanese lords rarely lived on the lands they had rights to.
A shrine dedicated to Yoritomo's memory has a wooden sculpture that is 27.8 inches tall.
Yoritomo's dignity and power are conveyed by the bold shapes.
European knights were similar to Samurai in several ways.
Both had expensive weapons and fought on horseback.
Soft living was seen as weak and unworthy, and physical hardship was accepted as normal.
The Kamakura Shogunate is named after Kamakura, a city near modern Tokyo that was the seat of the Minamoto clan.
The founder, Yoritomo, appointed his retainers to newly created offices.
Military land stewards were put in charge of seeing to the estates' proper operation to cope with the emergence of hard-to-tax estates.
Military governors were appointed to enforce the law in the provinces to bring order to the lawless countryside.
They were in charge of the land stewards in peacetime and commanded the samurai in war.
After Yoritomo died, Masako protected the interests of the Hojos.
She forced her first son to abdicate when he showed signs of preferring his wife's family to his mother's.
She helped her brother take over her father's power.
The process of reducing power holders to figureheads went one step further in 1219 when the Hojo family reduced the shogun to a figurehead.
The Hojo family ruled for more than a century.
The shogunate was shocked by the invasions of the Mongols in 1274 and 1281.
Although the Hojo regents were able to repel the Mongols with the help of a "divine wind", they were not able to reward their vassals in the traditional way.
The political system broke down in the 14th century because of discontent among the samurai.
The imperial and shogunate families were fighting.
The samurai became impoverished as land grants were divided.
The emperor Go-Daigo tried to regain real power after the factional disputes among Japan's leading families ended.
The Kamakura Shogunate was destroyed in 1333 by Go-Daigo.
The Ashikaga Shogunate was established by one of his most important military supporters, Ashikaga Takauji, in 1336.
The samurai took over civil authority throughout Japan and Takauji's victory was a victory for them.
Civil wars in Japan were the subject of long novels and handscrolls.
The painting shows a violent attack on the palace where the emperor lived.
During the Kamakura period, the cultural distance between the elites and the commoners narrowed.
The spread of Buddhism was done by preachers.
Honen preached that paradise could be reached through simple faith in the Buddha and repeating the name of the Buddha.
Shinran taught that monks should marry and have children if they want to stay in monasteries.
The Lotus Sutra, one of the most important of the Buddhist sutras, is one of the reasons why a different path was promoted by Nichiren.
Ordinary people in the countryside were receptive to the lay versions of Buddhism.
During the Kamakura period, Japan flourished.
Tang China was where Zen teachings began, and they were known as Chan.
The samurai were attracted to its discipline and strong bonds.
There was a school of Buddhism that emphasized meditation.
The tradition of long narrative prose works continued during the Kamakura period.
The story reached a large and mostly uneducated audience because of the chant of the blind minstrels.
The Buddhist idea of the transience of life and the illusory nature of glory is what the story is suffused with.
It also celebrates strength, courage, loyalty, and pride.
After the Heian period, agricultural productivity began to improve, and the population grew, reaching perhaps 8.2 million by 1333.
Japanese farmers adopted new strains of rice, double-cropped in warmer regions, made increased use of fertilizers, and improved irrigation for paddy rice, like farmers in Song China.
Ordinary people made their livings as traders, artisans, and entertainers.
The fringes of society were occupied by a group of people who were not normal.
Buddhist strictures against killing and Shinto ideas of pollution probably account for the exclusion of butchers, leatherworkers, morticians, and lepers, but other groups, such as bamboo whisk makers, were also traditionally excluded.
The central government's control of the economy in China stimulated trade and economic growth.
China's population doubled to 100 million between 800 and 1100.
The center of China's economy shifted from the north China plain to the south, which is drained by the Yangzi River.