Hiraizumi: Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-century Japan

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Harvard University Asia Center, 1998 - Art - 263 pages
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In the twelfth century, along what were then the borders of the Japanese state in northern Honshu, three generations of local rulers built a capital city at Hiraizumi that became a major military and commercial center. Known as the Hiraizumi Fujiwara, these local powerholders were descendents of the ancient Emishi, for centuries rivals to the central Japanese state and only recently reluctant participants in the growing Japanese polity. At Hiraizumi, these rules created a city filled with art, from splendid temples and shrines to landscaped gardens and palatial residences that rivaled in scale and extravagance those found in Kyoto. This building program was at least in part an attempt to use the power of art and architecture to claim a religious and political mandate. At the same time, it was an encounter with a set of concerns that arose from the situation of the Hiraizumi Fujiwara as outsiders in an emergent cultural homogeneity defined by the center in Kyoto.

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The Fall of Hiraizumi
The Unruled East 10 The Emishi 12 Hitakami 13 The Northern

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About the author (1998)

Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan is Professor of Japanese Art History at Yale University.

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