> kass, were the japanese matrilineal at this point? the livng with
the brides family, the grandmothers ruling.. the lack of monogamous
sexual practices.. sounds matrilineal. or did they pretend the
children were actually the husbands?
I wouldn't call it "matrilineal", Verdaeni. The men were definitely
in charge of the government and military and all that "important
stuff". But in a period of relative calm (compared to the Warring
States period to come...), it's easy for women to exert their
control. And alot of power was garnered using "marriage politics".
The most famous family for this was the Fujiwara, from whom I take my
name. They married their daughter to the Emperors for generations.
At the height of their power, Fujiwara no Michinaga had two daughters
married to Emperors (current and retired) and his a few of his
grandchildren later became Emperors themselves. The well-placed
marriages of his daughters are responsible for his position as the
Minister of the Left (a very high court position). He could not have
done it without their successful marriages and childbearing. Of
course the Emperor himself had no real power in this period.
Michinaga held it all. And it is said that Michinaga's daughters
controlled their Imperial sons while they were on the throne as well.
Women did *own* their own lands, but they could not administrate
them. So if a woman had no father, brother, or trusted male friend,
she would quite literally starve with rice dying in the fields.
Unmarried women could have sexual affairs, but married women could
most definitely NOT. And when your are 14 and your husband is 10 or
12, he's still your husband. So although the position of women in
the Heian period was really good (considering what was to come), it
wasn't "equality" by any stretch...
Matrilinear means that something is passed down through the female
line. Emperors had to be descended from Emperors and that is still
patrilinear. The Empress only became Empress because she was married
to the Emperor and she was really really terrific and he gave her
that rank. Not ALL of the Emperor's wives were made Empress. Only
very few. There didn't have to be an Empress. And her children
would only be Emperor if they were an Emperor's kids.