11 the dynasty of the fifth century appears in its

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Unformatted text preview: southern tip of Korea,10 and during the fifth century Japanese rulers made requests of China on at least five occasions for the confirmation of titles related to Japan’s involvement in the Korean fighting, including “King of Wa” and “Generalissimo Who Maintains Peace in the East Commanding With Battle-Ax All Military Affairs.”11 The dynasty of the fifth century appears, in its turn, to have been supplanted in the early sixth century by the ruling family that became the imperial dynasty of historic times. This final dynastic tran- The Emergence of Japanese Civilization 17 Fig. 7 Ise Shrine (Consulate General of Japan, New York) sition, which gave rise to the line of the Sun Goddess, occurred on the eve of history—that is, within decades of the period, about mid-sixth century, when the native records become generally reliable as factual accounts. The principal monument to the Sun Goddess is the Ise Shrine (fig. 7), which houses her image, as noted, in the form of the mirror, the most precious object of the imperial regalia. The Ise Shrine is made of softtextured, unpainted cypress, and is a splendid example of a shrine maintained in a “natural” state. Since antiquity it has been the custom to rebuild the structures of the Ise Shrine every twenty years in adjacent, alternate sites (the last rebuilding was in 1993). No one knows the reason for this unusual custom, although possibly it derives from the desire to preserve the freshness of the wood and to avoid the warping and sagging to which this kind of material is susceptible. The severely simple buildings of the shrine, with their raised floors, thatched roofs, and crossed endrafters, show Shinto architecture at its best. Situated in lovely forest surroundings, they give the feeling of great naturalness and tranquility, of a 18 The Emergence of Japanese Civilization spirit somehow representative of Japan before the introduction of Buddhism in the sixth century. This style of architecture can be traced back to line drawings on rather oversized bronze bells, known as dòtaku,...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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