The Importance Of The Heian Period In The Tales Of Genji

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The Heian Period, was a period of both chaos and beauty. Marked with the decline of the imperial family, and the rise of the Fujiwara Regency, the Heian period was filled with dramatic shifts of power, and the emergence of new political and economic powers. While literature and the arts prospered in court, as seen with the Tales of Genji, greed and manipulation also bled throughout. From the rise of the imperial statehood, and to the dominance of the aristocracy, the Heian Period was muddled with hierarchical court politics and culture, that bred a period of both the blossoming of the arts, and of intolerance and ignorance, which ultimately led to its downfall. Overall, the Heian Period, was a time of both prosperity and squalor, and in …show more content…
Court rank, which was determined by your blood ties, determined one’s position in the government, and their wealth. The extreme hierarchical nature of Heian court, is best illustrated in the Tales of Genji, written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
Although Genji is the son of the Emperor, he is unable to succeed to the throne (despite enormous promise) due to having been born to an imperial consort of non-Fujiwara descent. Despite being the favorite of the Emperor, Genji due to his pedigree, is unable to assume the title emperor, and is instead given to the Emperor’s first son, who is far more
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Throughout the Heian court, there was a mass appreciation for all things performance and cultural. The Heian Court seemingly obsessed with beauty, lavishly decorated with careful attention to decorations and furnishings. During the Heian Period, the art of embellishing wood was highly developed producing beautiful lacquered boxes for scrolls, and paintings. Even the most mundane of objects such as ink-stands, and musical instruments were so deeply ornamented that they became works of art.
Poetry was an essential part of Heian court culture, having every important life event dictated through poetry. Calligraphy, was also an extremely important aspect of Heian court, with calligraphy being considered a demonstration of a person’s morality. As seen in third chapter of the Tales of Genji, Genji falls madly in love with a lowly aristocratic woman due to her beautiful calligraphy resulting in him abandoning social and cultural principles in his pursuit of her as well as the abandonment of his mistress, Rokujo. Like calligraphy, music and dance were also emphasized in the Tales of

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