Ancient China by Taylor warren
The nobles who followed Japan emperor to Heian wanted to win his favor by living close to him. These nobles created an imperial court, a group of nobles who live near and serve or advise a ruler. Members of the noble court had little to do with the common people of Heian. They lived apart from poorer citizens and seldom left the city. These nobles enjoyed their lives of ease and privilege.
The nobles love of beauty began with their own appearances. Women wore long gowns made of 12 layers of colored silk. Nobles often carried delicate decorative fans. Nobles also attached flowers and long silk cords to their fans. Nobles loved elaborate outfits.
In addition to how they looked Japanese nobles took great care with how they spoke and wrote. Writing was very popular amount the nobles. Many women wrote diaries and journals about their lives at court. These women carefully chose their words to makes their writing beautiful. Men usuall wrote in Chinese and women wrote in Japanese. Many of the greatest works of early Japanese literature were written by women. One of the greatest writers in early Japanese history was Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
Japan's nobles also loved the visual arts. The most popular art forms of the period were paintings, calligraphy, and architecture. The nobles of Heian liked bright, bold colors. They also liked paintings that illustrated stories. Many artists painted on doors and furniture rather than on paper.
The nobles of Heian worked to make their city beautiful. They greatly admired Chinese architecture and modeled Heian after the Chinese capital, Chang'an. They copied Chinese building styles. These styles featured buildings with wooden frames that curved slightly upward at the ends. The wooden frames were often left unpainted to look more natural.
The performing arts were also popluar in Japan during the Heian period. The roots of later Japanese drama can be traced back to this time. People often gathered to watch performances by musicians, jugglers, and acrobats. Their plays were popular in which actors skillfully mimicked 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. The nobles religion reflected their love of elborate rituals. Most of the common people in Japan, though equally religious, didn't have the time or money for these ceremonies. Different forms of Buddhism developed in Japan. One new form of Buddhism was very popular with Japan's common people.