Emperor and Aristocracy in Heian Japan (Book published September


Book Details

Author  Francine Herail
Publisher  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date   September 10, 2013
ISBN  149226282X
Pages  330

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The Japanese court at the apogee of the Heian period gives us an insight into a society that produced one of the finest artistic and literary flowerings in Japan's history. Unlike the heads of the great European courts, the emperor, a quasi-divine figure, could take no initiative. Real authority was in the hands of the chancellor assisted by a council of senior nobles. Imbued with the notion that the welfare of the country depended on the emperor and his advisors, they sought the assistance of divine powers. Thus they devoted three-quarters of their working lives to ensuring the correct performance of the annual cycle of celebrations, rituals deemed essential for the prosperity and safety of the country. Ceremonies, an art of living enamoured of harmony and refinement, but also secular and religious power struggles, the place of women, literati and artists, the role of provincial governors... Francine Herail shows us what life was like in the inner palace of Heiankyo and beyond its confines, and helps us to understand the values of a Japanese society, which, in spite of continental influences, has never lost sight of its originality.

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