Japanese Emperor Butterfly

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Beginning from the 7th and 8th centuries, Emperors primarily took women of the Fujiwara clan as their highest wives – the most probable mothers of future monarchs. This was cloaked as a tradition of marriage between heirs of two kami (Shinto deities): descendants of Amaterasu with descendants of the family kami of the Fujiwara. (Originally, the Fujiwara were descended from relatively minor nobility, thus their kami is an unremarkable one in the Japanese myth world. ) To produce imperial children, heirs of the nation, with two-side descent from the two kami, was regarded as desirable – or at least it suited powerful Fujiwara lords, who thus received preference in the imperial marriage market. The reality behind such marriages was an alliance between an imperial prince and a Fujiwara lord, his father-in-law or grandfather, the latter with his resources supporting the prince to the throne and most often controlling the government. These arrangements created the tradition of regents (Sesshō and Kampaku), with these positions held only by a Fujiwara sekke lord.

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