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nagaeyari
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 3:14 pm    Post subject: Heian art Reply with quote
In a recent discussion with a Japan-oriented education program I am involved with, we viewed Heian art.

Much of it seemed to be full of rabits and frogs.

Anyone know why there was a focus on animals?

*Was* there really a focus, or did we only see a specified section of Heian art?

Thanks
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, I know that the rabbit/frog motif was from a common Buddhist story describing the chaos of Mappou, but beyond that I can't help. It's certainly not all or most of Heian art, though--I think you just saw a weird selection.
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AJBryant
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
There was a thriving tradition of telling stories with anthropomorphic animals. They were an entire sub-genre of early japanese literature -- irui-mono (異類物). Among the other advantages of the tales, you could get away with politically incorrect stories if you're using animals.

Irui-mono are subdivided into categories like love stories, war tales, religious didactic tales, etc. Often the names are all clever puns on animal types that sound very close to regular Japanese names.

I was actually going to translate one for my thesis, but went with a conventional court-type tale.

Tony
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