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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
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.
- Spring '13