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Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

The Heian Period

Feature page for August 2006

For almost four hundred years (794-1185), while Europe was mired in the dark ages, Japan enjoyed a cultural explosion. During this era, learning from China reached its peak, while Japan also developed its own distinctive forms of art, literature, and architecture. The society was extremely non-egalitarian, but for the lucky tiny minority this must have seemed a most civilised time.

The era remains a popular one as a subject for art - most notably in scenes from Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji, written in around 1000 AD, and said to be the world's first novel. Note the fashion indicators of the time: the high eyebrows, the (very) long hair, and the sumptuous kimonos...

Heian character collection

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Symbol of Heian glory

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