A the introduction of buddhism 43 lengthy collection

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Unformatted text preview: nd masks of wood and dry lacquer used in gigaku, a form of dance learned from China that was popular at Buddhist temples during the Nara period. The imported objects come from virtually every part of the known world of Asia and Europe—including China, Southeast and Central Asia, India, Arabia, Persia, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, and Rome—and include a vast variety of fabrics, household belongings, blown and cut glass, ceramicware, paintings, and statuary. The outpouring of visual art in the Tempyò period was accompanied by the first great blossoming of Japanese poetry. Although there are a number of simple and artless songs in both the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki and although efforts to poetize are very ancient in Japan, the compilation about mid-eighth century of the Man’yòshû (Collection of a Myriad Leaves) marked the true beginning of the Japanese poetic tradition. A The Introduction of Buddhism 43 lengthy collection of some 4,500 poems, the Man’yòshû is not only Japan’s first anthology but in the minds of many the finest, astonishing as this may seem for so early a work. Some of the Man’yòshû poems are spuriously attributed to emperors and other lofty individuals of the fourth and fifth centuries, an age shrouded in myth, and a great many more are anonymous. Its poems appear in fact to constitute a sampling of composition from about the middle of the seventh century to the middle of the eighth, although we cannot know how representative this sampling is of all the poems that must have been written in Japan during that period. Several features of the Man’yòshû set it apart from later anthologies. First, it possesses a kind of native freshness and youthful vigor in its verses that was lost in later centuries after Japanese culture had been more fully transformed by the influence of continental civilization. Second, its poems appear to have been written by people from many classes of society, including peasants, frontier guards, and even beggars, as well as the aristocrats who through much of the premodern era completely monopoli...
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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 UBC.

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