By the time of the taira supremacy collections of

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Unformatted text preview: tivity by the Taira greatly speeded the process of transmission. One of the earliest and most important results of this new wave of cultural transmission from the continent was a revival of interest in Japan in pure scholarship. The Nara court, following the Chinese model, had founded a central college in the capital and had directed that branch colleges be established in the various provinces. The ostensible purpose of this system of colleges, which by the mid-Nara period had evolved a fourfold curriculum of Confucian classics, literature, law, and mathematics, was to provide a channel of advancement in the court bureaucracy for sons of the lower (including the provincial) aristocracy. But in actual practice very little opportunity to advance was provided, and the bestowal of courtier ranks and offices continued to be made almost entirely on grounds of birth. Before long, the college system languished, and the great courtier families assumed responsibility through private academies for the education of their own children. Moreover, as the courtiers of the early Heian period became increasingly infatuated with literature (that is, belles-lettres), they almost totally neglected the other fields of academic or scholarly pursuit. Courtier society offered scant reward 84 The Advent of a New Age to the individual who, say, patiently acquired a profound knowledge of the Analects of Confucius; yet it liberally heaped laurels upon and promised literary immortality to the author of superior poems. The Sung period in China, on the other hand, was an exceptional age for scholarship, most notably perhaps in history and in the compilation of encyclopedias and catalogs of art works. This scholarly activity was greatly facilitated by the development of printing, invented by the Chinese several centuries earlier. Japanese visitors to Sung China were much impressed by the general availability of printed books on a great variety of subjects, including history, Buddhism, Confucianism, literature, medicine,...
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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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