From Castle to Teahouse: Japanese Architecture of the Momoyama Period

From Castle to Teahouse: Japanese Architecture of the Momoyama Period

From Castle to Teahouse: Japanese Architecture of the Momoyama Period

From Castle to Teahouse: Japanese Architecture of the Momoyama Period

Excerpt

The Momoyama period of Japanese art history -- 1573 to 1615 -- offers such a variety of architectural pleasures that, in at least one of its many facets, it should appeal to every taste. It ranges from the largest and most imposing castles and palaces to the smallest and most tastefully designed teahouses. Painting and gardens are an integral part of Japanese architecture and here, also, the range extends from the gorgeous and elaborate to the utmost in simplicity and restraint.

In contrast to other eras, the architectural developments of the Momoyama period were not chiefly concerned with the building of religious edifices. During this time of conquest and consolidation in which the Japanese nation came to be united under a single leader, military architecture was of prime importance. More important in terms of application to contemporary design was the shoin style of residential architecture, which reached its zenith in this period of creativity. The third major architectural contribution of the age was the introduction of the sukiya style, represented by the teahouse. It is indeed remarkable that in such a short period of time these three dissimilar but related types of architecture developed forms which have never been surpassed in Japan or, in the opinion of many, in the world.

The shoin and sukiya styles have left their imprint on Japanese residential architecture, which retains many of the forms of the Momoyama period to this day. Therefore a knowledge of the influence of these styles is pertinent to a study of contemporary Japanese architecture and the latter's impact upon the rest of the modern world.

In the first part of this book I have discussed and illustrated the principal forms of castle, shoin, and sukiya architecture . . .

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