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Chapter 9 East Asian Connections, 300-1300
Notes, Part
DO NOW Questions:
Based on this chapter, how would you respond
to the idea that China was a self-contained or
isolated civilization?
W any developments noted in this chapter oppose
this idea, including China's active participation
in Iong-distance trade; the tribute system, which
established ties with China's neighbors; and the
infIuence of Buddhism on Chinese society.
W AIso contradicting this idea are the popuIarity
for a time during the Tang dynasty of "western
barbarian" music, dancing, cIothing, foods,
games, and artistic styIes among the upper
cIasses; the infIuence of pastoraI and nomadic
peopIes on China; and the spread of Chinese
technoIogicaI innovations to other parts of the
W China's adoption of outside crops and
technoIogy, including cotton, sugar, and the
processing techniques for these crops from ndia,
as well as fast-ripening rice from Vietnam, and the
cosmopoIitan nature of China's port cities
contradict the notion that China was isolated.
W owever 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 deas -
SHOTOKU, The Seventeen Article Constitution, 604
2. Document 9.2 (408) - DOGEN, Writings on Zen
Buddhism, Thirteenth Century
3. Document 9.5 (414 & 415)- SHBA YOSASA,
Advice to Young Samurai, ca. 1400 -AND- AGAWA
RYOSHUN, The magawa Letter, 1412
'isual 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 PoIiticaI
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: VisuaI Sources - Considering the
Evidence: The Leisure Life of China's EIites (417)
W1 calls on people not to disobey their lords and fathers, reflecting
Confucian thinking.
W2 explicitly calls for respect for the Buddha and his teachings.
W3 reflects IegaIist principIes by requiring obedience to imperial
commands, and Confucian vaIues when it requires that an
inferior yield to his or her superior.
W4 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
W5 requires officials to avoid attachment, reflecting Buddhist thinking.
W6 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 LegaIist writer Han Fei in Document 4.3.
W 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.
W11 admonishes officials to punish the wicked and reward the virtuous.
This admonishment refers indirectly to the two handles promoted
by the LegaIist writer Han Fei in Document 4.3.
W12 requires that only one sovereign and one law reign supreme in the
kingdom; its tone could be interpreted as LegaIist.
W15 is Confucian in its concept, as Confucius required ministers in
positions of authority to subjugate their personal interests to
those of society.
W1 places all authority with the leader but requires the ruler to listen to
respectful council, reflecting Confucian concepts.
Document 9.1: Japanese PoIiticaI IdeaIs ". 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.)
Q. What can you infer about the internal problems that Japanese
rulers faced?
WLocal feuds undermined peace and imperiaI authority
Wmperial commands were not aIways obeyed.
WMinisters did not aIways act with decorum and without seIf-
WThe guiIty were not aIways punished.
WLocaI authorities sometimes Ievied taxes without imperiaI
WPeasants were sometimes forced to Iabor during the summer.
Q. ow might Shotoku define an ideal Japanese state?
WThe state would be headed by an emperor who was obeyed in aII
Wt would be administered by weII-trained and seIfIess ministers
dedicated to the good of the state and society.
WThe Iaw wouId be enforced fairIy rewarding the good and punishing
the bad.
WLocaI authority wouId defer to imperiaI authority.
WThe Buddhist faith wouId 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?
WThis document was intended to provide guideIines for court
officiaIs and thus need not explicitly refer to the ultimate sources of
imperial political authority.
WThe uItimate sources of imperiaI poIiticaI authority were wideIy
accepted by court officiaIs and therefore need not be reiterated in
this document.
Document 9.1: Japanese PoIiticaI IdeaIs
Document 9.2: Buddhism in Japan: The Zen Tradition
Q. What was distinctive about Zen practice?
W Distinctive to Zen practice was the importance of transmitting teachings
from master to discipIe in an unbroken line; the long periods of
meditation undertaken at Ieast by monks, and the concept that
samdhi (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?
W Zen fostered mentaI seIf-discipIine which would be useful to a samurai.
W It provided a path to saIvation for those involved in a dangerous and
unpredictable profession.
Q. What distinguished Zen from Pure Land Buddhism in Japan?
W Zen rejected the roIe of the Amida Buddha and the nembutsu in
saIvation, as well as the use of incense, worshipful prostrations,
repentance, and chanting scripture.
W It instead focuses on teachings that are purported to stretch via direct
lineages to the Buddha, and Iengthy meditation to "sIough off body
Q. What understandings lie behind the strict discipline of Zen? ow
might Buddhist critics of this approach take issue with Dogen?
W Samdhi (concentration) is the true path of awakening, a good teacher
is essential, and lengthy meditation is the key to Buddhist practice.
W A follower of the Pure Land tradition might argue that beIief 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 discipIine rather than the promise of the
next life.
W Other Buddhists might question his rejection of incense Iighting,
worshipfuI protestations, repentance, and chanting scripture, all of
which play important roles in other Buddhist traditions.
Shogun: Shogun: ilitary Leader of Japan; ilitary Leader of Japan;
the emperor was ruler in name only the emperor was ruler in name only
W W Daimyo: Daimyo:
"Heads of Great FamiIies" "Heads of Great FamiIies"
Controlled vast landed estates
W Relied on protection from
W 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.
t also shows the Samurai Japanese castles.
(those who serve)
VIDEO: "FeudaI Japan"
t is a set of practices, to be carried out
diligently, to establish a connection
between present day Japan and its
ancient past.
Currently 119 illion Japanese that
practice this religion.
Indigenous Religion of Japan Indigenous Religion of Japan
Shinto "the Way of the Gods"
Document 9.5: The Way of the Warrior
Q. Based on these accounts, how would you define the ideal samurai?
W possess abilities in both the Arts of Peace and the Arts of War.
W strive to maintain an honorabIe reputation, and use forethought and be
W willingly give up his Iife for the emperor during a time of need, and put
the needs of the emperor, commoners, and retainers ahead of his own.
W ideal samurai would practice moderation, IoyaIty, and fiIiaI piety.
W 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? ow do these writers reconcile the
peaceful emphasis of Confucian and Buddhist teachings with the
military dimension of bushido?
W "Advice to a Young Samurai" instructs the samurai to practice
circumspection; to caIm the mind, foIIowing a Buddhist modeI; and
to be obedient to his parents in a manner that conforms to Confucian
W Imagawa Ietter: compIaints that the adopted son faiIed to deveIop
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
W n terms of reconciIing the peacefuI emphasis of Buddhist and
Confucian teachings with the miIitary dimension of the bushido, the
documents emphasize that vioIence and taking Iife is reprehensibIe if
conducted for personaI gain but done for a nobIe 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?
W Abusive IocaI Iords were destabiIizing the kingdom by fleecing
commoners, plundering shrines, and impeding the flow of travelers.
W VaIues of seIfIess service among some Samurai were being repIaced
by pIeasure 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 (10821135)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.
VisuaI Source 9.1: A Banquet with the Emperor
Q. What features of this painting contribute to the impression of imperial
W the elaborate place settings
W the plentiful food on the table and elaborate tea service in the foreground
W 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?
W The emperor is set off from the others in his white robe.
W 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
W The servants are dressed in single colored uniforms.
Q. ow is the emperor depicted in this painting in comparison to that on p.
388? ow would you explain the difference?
W 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.
W Unlike the scene depicted on page 388, this image depicts an informal, semi-
private event where formal court protocol is not observed.
". ow might you imagine the conversation around this table?
W The conversation focuses on matters of entertainment or amusement rather than
issues of state.
W The conversation is unstructured, with several individual conversations taking
place at one time.
W The emperor is participating in the conversation rather than dominating it.
At TabIe with the Empress
EIite women of the court Iikewise gathered to eat, drink, and taIk, as
illustrated in Visual Source 9.2, an anonymous Tang dynasty painting on silk.
osting 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.
VisuaI Source 9.2: At TabIe with the Empress
". ow does this gathering of elite women differ from that of the men in 'isual Source
9.1? ow might their conversation differ from that of the men?
W 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.
W The conversation still remains informal, but is more likely to focus on issues of relevance to
elite courtier women.
". To what extent are the emperor and empress in 'isual Sources 9.1 and 9.2
distinguished from their guests? ow 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?
W 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.
W 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.
W 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.
". What differences in status among these women can you identify?
W 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.
W The participants in the event who are seated but not playing instruments represent elite
women of the imperial court.
W The musicians represent a third level of status in the scene.
W The servant to the bottom left of the scene represents the lowest status.
". What view of these women does the artist seek to convey?
W an informal view of these women at leisure
W 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 "gentIemen" (see pp. 19395).
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.
VisuaI Source 9.3: A Literary Gathering
Q. What marks these figures as cultivated men of literary or scholarly inclination?
W the scroll held by the man second from the left
W the writing materials held by the man on the far right
W their contemplative poses and expressions
Q. What meaning might you attribute to the outdoor garden setting of this image and
that of 'isual Source 9.1?
W Outdoors is where leisure time should ideally be spent, according to Chinese cultural
W Daoist ideas shaped leisure activities.
W Outdoor leisure activities were undertaken by the emperor and the educated elite in
Chinese society.
Q. otice the various gazes of the four figures. What do they suggest about the
character of this gathering and the interpersonal relationships among its
W The gazes indicate that the four figures are actively engaged in personal contemplation
rather than conversation.
W 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?
W 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.
W 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.
SoIitary RefIection
Chinese schoIars and bureaucrats are often shown, in their Ieisure hours,
as soIitary contempIatives, immersing themseIves in nature. The famous
Song dynasty painter a Yuan (11601225) depicted such an image in his
masterpiece entitled On a Mountain Path in Spring.
n 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.
VisuaI Source 9.4: SoIitary RefIection
Q. ow would you define the mood of this painting? What techniques did
Ma Yuan use to evoke this mood?
W The painting evokes a longing for withdrawal from this world, for solitary
contemplation in the wilderness.
W The relative size of the two human figures help to evoke the mood, as does
the emphasis on an expansive wilderness setting.
Q. ow might this painting reflect the perspectives of Daoism (see pp. 195-
197)? ow does it differ from the more Confucian tone of 'isual Source
W 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
W The natural landscape was a common motif in Daoist painting.
W 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?
W The painting displays the man and his servant as relatively small in an
expansive natural setting.
W The accompanying poem and the positioning of the figures in the painting
emphasize a man immersing himself in nature.
W The man is seeking to commune with nature and withdraw from the world, not
alter nature.
An EIite 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.
VisuaI Source 9.5: An EIite Night Party
Q. What kinds of entertainment were featured at this gathering?
W 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?
W 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.
W n 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. ow are women portrayed in these images? In what ways are they
relating to the men in the paintings?
W Women are portrayed as entertainers, both playing music and dancing;
as servants delivering drinks to men; and as companions standing next
to men.
W 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 overinduIging in suspicious night-Iong parties in his own home. He therefore commissioned
the artist Gu Hongzhong to attend these parties secretIy 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.
ow can you explain the changing
fortunes of Buddhism in China?
W Buddhism first grew in infIuence in China during a
period of disorder foIIowing the coIIapse of the Han
dynasty, a time when many in China had lost faith in
Chinese systems of thought.
W Buddhism aIso benefited from the support of foreign
nomadic ruIers who during this period governed portions of
northern China.
W Once estabIished, Buddhism grew for a number of
reasons: Buddhist monasteries provided an array of sociaI
services to ordinary people; Buddhism was associated with
access to magicaI powers; there was a serious effort by
Buddhist monks and schoIars to present this Indian
reIigion in terms that the Chinese couId reIate to; and
under the Sui and Tang dynasties, Buddhism received
growing state support.
W owever, it decIined during the ninth century because
some perceived the Buddhist estabIishment as a
chaIIenge to imperiaI authority.
W There was also a deepening resentment of the
enormous weaIth of Buddhist monasteries.
W 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 ideaI of the famiIy.
W ImperiaI decrees in the 840s shut down Buddhist
monasteries, and the state confiscated Buddhist
Visual Source 5.5 The
Amitabha Buddha
VisuaI Source 5.4 The Chinese Maitreya Buddha
ap 9.2 The World of Asian Buddhism
Born in ndia, Buddhism later spread widely throughout much of Asia to provide a measure of cultural or
religious commonality across this vast region.
ow did China influence the
world beyond East Asia?
W Chinese products,
especially silk, were key
to the Afro-Eurasian
trade networks.
W Chinese technoIogies,
including those related to
shipbuilding, navigation,
gunpowder, and printing,
spread to other
regions of Eurasia.
ow was China itself transformed by
its encounters with a wider world?
W Buddhism from South Asia
had a profound impact on
W China's growing trade with the
rest of the world made it the
richest country in the worId.
W t also became the most
highIy commerciaIized
society in the world, with
regions, especially in the
south, producing for wider
markets rather than for local
W China adopted cotton and
sugar crops and the
processes for refining them
from South Asia.