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Unformatted text preview: hundred years or so it was almost completely powerless as a central government. Yoshimitsu was not only an outstanding military leader but also a generous and discerning patron of the arts. Presiding in nearly regal fashion over both courtier and warrior elites in Kyoto, he was to a great extent personally responsible for the exceptional flourishing of culture that occurred in his age, known as the Kitayama epoch after the location of his monastic retreat, the Golden Pavilion, in the Northern Hills outside Kyoto (fig. 31). An important stimulus to Kitayama culture was the renewal by Yoshimitsu of formal contacts with China. Trade and exchange between Japan and China had been minimized during and after the Mongol invasions. But, by the early fourteenth century, animosities had subsided on both sides to the point where Japan’s military rulers felt secure in dispatching 112 Fig. 31 The Canons of Medieval Taste Golden Pavilion (photograph by Joseph Shulman) two trading missions to China (in 1325 and 1341) to acquire funds for the repair of one Zen temple and the construction of another. In 1368, the same year that Yoshimitsu became shogun, the alien Mongol dynasty of China was overthrown and was replaced by the Ming (1368–1644). Shortly after its founding, the Ming made overtures to Japan requesting aid in the suppression of Japanese-led pirates or wakò, The Canons of Medieval Taste 113 who had been marauding the coasts of Korea and China in the century following the Mongol invasions. It was ostensibly in response to these overtures for assistance that Yoshimitsu entered into official relations with the Ming, although privately he was no doubt more strongly motivated to establish such relations from his desire to develop a profitable overseas trade. Later nationalist historians have roundly denounced Yoshimitsu for accepting a tributary relationship with China of the kind that the Japanese had for some eight hundred years steadfastly rejected, even to the point of precipitating the Mongol invas...
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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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