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Ashikaga Rule and Cultural Brilliance in the Muromachi Period: A Look at Selected Ink Monochrome Paintings

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Title: Ashikaga Rule and Cultural Brilliance in the Muromachi Period: A Look at Selected Ink Monochrome Paintings
Authors: Siu, Julie
Advisor: Morris, V. Dixon
Issue Date: 26 Sep 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: History is remembrance and inheritance. The Muromachi period (1338-1573) of Japanese history is remembered by most historians as a time of chaos and internal conflict. A dynastic split early in the period and a civil war in the later years were the manifestations of gekokujo or "the low oppress the high," a term which has come to characterize the Muromachi period. Thus, one aspect of the Muromachi period is social change: new groups emerging into positions of influence and new power for existing groups. Yet, the Muromachi period was also an age rich in cultural achievements: poetry, landscape gardening, and painting. By looking at the art of ink monochrome painting as well as the politics of the period, we can learn more about the Muromachi period. While a study of other aesthetic pursuits of the time may be just as informative, painting has the twofold advantage of being visually accessible as original documents of the period. The arts of the Muromachi period have become associated with what is considered today as traditional Japanese culture. Their roots can be traced to Zen monks bringing Chinese culture to Japan during the Kamakura period (1192-1333) and the Muromachi period. In the words of Daisetz T. Suzuki, a "process of hatching" was· taking place in Japan. One theme, then, in pre-modern Japanese history is the Chinese influence on Japan's historical development. Historians have used several analogies in describing this process: waves of continental influence, a cultural debt, and China as the cultural colossus. One analogy captures the complexity of Japan's historical relationship with China. Japan is likened to an oyster opening and closing according to its own will. By implying that Japan exercised discrimination in its reception of cultural influence, the oyster analogy also suggests that there were reasons tor doing so in Muromachi Japan.
Pages/Duration: v, 40 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/33882
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for History



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