How much do you know about Japanese fashion? Did you know that the Japanese had magnificent wardrobes full of silk robes and gold jewelry. Women wore long gowns made of 12 layers of colored silk cleverly cut and folded to show off many layers at once. Nobles carried delicate decorative fans. These fans were painted with flowers, trees, and birds. Many nobles also attached flowers and long silk cards to their fans!
Did you know that Japanese nobles took great care with how they spoke and wrote? Women carefully chose their words to make their writing beautiful. One of the greatest writers in earlyJapanese history was Lady Murasaki Shikibu. Poems at this time only had five line which they called Haiku!
The most popular art forms of the period were paintings, calligraphy, and architecture. The nobles of Heian like bright, bold color. They also liked paintings that illustrated paintings. Another popular form of art in Heian was calligraphy, or decorative writing. They wanted the poems to look beautiful as they sounded!
Nobles of Heian worked to make their city beautiful. They greatly admired Chinese architecture and modeled Heian after the Chinese capital. They copied Chinese building styles, especially in the many temples they built. The nobles liked simple, airy designs. Most buildings were made of wood with tiled roofs and large, open spaces.
The performing acts were also popular in Japan during the Heian period. People often gathered to watch performances by musicians, juggles, and acrobats. Especially popular were the plays in which actors skillfully mimikicked other people. In later centuries, these types of performances developed into a more serious form of drama called Noh. These plays often tell about great heroes or figures from Japan's past.
Religion became something of an art form in Heian. Most common people in Japan, through equally religious, didn't have the time or money for these ceremonies. One new form of Buddhism was very popular with Japan's common people. It was called Pure Land Buddhism and didn't require any special rituals. Instead, Pure Land Buddhists chanted the Buddha's name over and over to achieve an enlightened state!