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Cherry Blossoms, Swords and Tea-Cups: Cultural and Aesthetic Symbolism in Classical Japan.

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Presentation on theme: "Cherry Blossoms, Swords and Tea-Cups: Cultural and Aesthetic Symbolism in Classical Japan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cherry Blossoms, Swords and Tea-Cups: Cultural and Aesthetic Symbolism in Classical Japan.

2 What is cultural symbolism, and why is it important? Students- consider these three things: A flower A tea-cup A sword What could these things symbolize? (remember- ‘symbolism’ is when an object, idea, image or action comes to represents something other than itself) Hint: Think about sharing a cup of tea, or some other drink with a friend or acquaintance, or giving someone flowers. What sorts of things can this activity ‘represent’ or ‘symbolise’? In 5 minutes, write down all the things that could be associated with these three objects. It helps to also consider how they are used in special cultural or social events, both past and present. Try to come up with at least three things that each object could ‘symbolise’. After 5 minutes, discuss your answers.

3 Chado-The Way of Tea Above is a classic room used for the performance of the Tea- Cermony (chanoyu). What can you see here? What type of mood does the room create?

4 The Way of the Sword: Bushido and the Warrior’s Code While reading the heroic stories of the samurai, it may be easy to forget that the ideals of Japan's warriors were born out of necessity; of years of constant fighting and daily meetings with pain, torture and death. Naturally, their philosophy reflects the nature of such conditions. Although many of the ideas of Bushido had been around in one form or another for many years (and were previously referred to as the Way of the Bow and Arrow), Bushido as a distinct philosophy, was first articulated by Yamaga Soko ( ), a famous Confucian scholar and military strategist. He believed the three classes of farmers, merchants and artisans were engaged in economic activities, and therefore could not act in accordance with the Way of Confucianism. It was thus left to the samurai to uphold and practice the Way, and to correct offenders.

5 Life, death and Cherry Blossoms In Japan, there exists a centuries-old custom known as "Hanami”, which involves sitting or picnicking under blooming sakura or ume tree. When the custom is said to have started during the Nara Period (710–794) it was ume blossoms that people were though to have initially admired. By the Heian Period(794–1185), cherry blossoms began attracting more attention, and the practice of Hanami became associated with sakura. Ini the beginning, only members of the Imperial Court participated in Hanami, but like many aristocratic traditions, the practice soon spread amongst the samurai class. By the Tokugawa period, even the common people were enjoying its simple, yet profound pleasures. One Tokugawa shogun even planted areas of cherry blossom trees to encourage the activity of drinking sake, feasting and enjoying the beauty of the Cherry Blossoms.


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