1) What are the main regional East Asian relationships that contributed to the development of Japanese civilization? How did the material and intellectual networks of exchange spanning the continent, the peninsula and the archipelago develop and change over time? What objects, people and ideas traversed this dynamic region in each historical moment, and what do these tell us about the development of the trans-national foundations of Japanese civilization?
2) How does the relationship between human life and the landscape transform from the Jōmon to the Warring States/Momoyama period? Cite examples of artistic, architectural or other artifacts to make your case.
3) How did universal Chinese-character writing technologies develop and shape Japanese civilization? Discuss principal examples of both Kanbun and Kana (vernacular Japanese) writing and how these contributed to the development of Japanese civilization.
4) What are shōen and how did they shape politics, economics, religion, culture and society from Heian to Muromachi Japan? Cite specific events, religious ideas, and artistic works to support your answer.
5) How did mappō, the Pure Land and the Six Realms of Existence in Buddhism have an impact on upon the “enchanted landscape” of medieval politics, culture and society? Cite examples of artistic works that describe these changes.
6) What were the main characteristics of the development of landscape painting and its relation to Chinese culture as well as Zen Buddhism in Muromachi Japan? What transformations in the nature of the political, economic, religious, social, and cultural spheres in Japan do these works describe? Cite principal examples of key landscape paintings and painters to support your answer.
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