Although he may not have been as brilliant a composer

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Unformatted text preview: tury on was that it stimulated social intercourse. The leisured Heian courtiers had, of course, been quite socially minded and indeed seem to have enjoyed a constant round of parties, including those 122 Fig. 33 The Canons of Medieval Taste Silver Pavilion (photograph by Joseph Shulman) that featured poetry recitations and competitions. But the other classes of premedieval times were, so far as we can discern, greatly restricted both in their opportunities to socialize and in the range of their social contacts. Peasants, warrior-peasants, townsmen, and others labored long hours, and apart from occasional shrine and harvest festivals probably had little time or inclination to engage in social relations of a purely convivial type with people outside their immediate families. The medieval age brought a number of changes that greatly increased the socializing opportunities for people of all classes, especially the new The Canons of Medieval Taste 123 ruling elite of samurai and the guilds of artisans and merchants that emerged in such urban centers as Kyoto, Nara, and the port city of Sakai on the Inland Sea. Records from the early fourteenth century reveal that among the pleasures these people enjoyed when they gathered together socially were dengaku and sarugaku (which we have already noted), communal bathing, the drinking of tea and sake, and the composition of linked verse. It would be absurd to mistake a popular diversion for art, and we should not suppose that the extemporaneous renga poetizing by partygoing peasants, tradesmen, or common samurai produced very many immortal lines. Nevertheless, there are strong indications that the popularistic tastes of the lower classes did significantly influence the development of linked verse in the Muromachi period, just as they contributed (through dengaku and sarugaku) to the evolution of nò. Linked verse was elevated to the status of a recognized art by the courtier Nijò Yoshimoto (1320–88), who in 1356 compiled the first imperially authorized renga anthology. But it was the masters of the fifteenth century who raised linked verse...
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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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