52 the flourishing of a bourgeois culture tshg shrine

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Unformatted text preview: mats and others directly on the floor or by using mats of different sizes or with different border designs. When tatami mats of uniform size (each about six feet by three feet) were used to cover the entire floor in the shoin-style room, however, it became necessary to 178 The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture devise new means for showing differences in status, at least between the guest of honor and the others present at a gathering. In private residences, the seat in front of the alcove was established as the place of honor (the records tell us of some cases in which the guest of honor was seated in the alcove). In rooms in the grand shoin style, the status distinction between the highest-ranking public official present and the others was further reinforced by having him sit in a part of the room’s floor structurally raised a step above the rest of the floor. Probably the best surviving example of a room in the grand shoin style is the audience hall at Nijò Castle in Kyoto. One of the most popular stops on tourist itineraries in Kyoto, the castle was built by the Tokugawa as a residence for the shogun when he visited the imperial capital. Used on two occasions by the third shogun, Iemitsu (shogun, 1623–51), it remained unoccupied (at least by shoguns) for more than two centuries, until the last years of the Tokugawa shogunate. The audience hall at Nijò Castle is clearly divided into two parts, an “upper” part for the shogun and a “lower” part for the daimyos in attendance upon him. Although the difference between the upper and lower parts is only a step, the rectangular design of the hall and the use of two rows of friezes (one row about three-fifths up the wall and the other at the edge of the ceiling) to accentuate its horizontality provide a dramatic, imposing setting for anyone seated on the upper part. The setting is made even more imposing by the location of an enormous alcove on the back wall—that is, the wall in front of which, in Tokugawa times, the shogun sat. Although the second of the three types of shoin-style architecture mentioned above was intended by shogunate law, as noted, exclusively for samurai, by far the finest e...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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