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Unformatted text preview: xample of it to come down to us from the
Tokugawa period—and, indeed, one of the truly great masterpieces of
architecture in all of Japanese history—is the Katsura Detached Palace
in southwestern Kyoto, built over a period from about 1616 to 1660 by
a branch of the imperial family (fig. 51). In the rambling structures of
this villa, which has had a profound influence in the twentieth century
on both Japanese and foreign architects, are combined those elements of
Japanese architecture—including cleanness of line, simplicity of adornment, harmony of buildings to surrounding gardens and ponds, and the
flow of space through rooms with readily removable partitions—that will
forever be a source of aesthetic wonder and delight.
Two authorities say this about the Katsura Detached Palace: “The
Katsura Villa is perhaps the most perfect example in Japan of the integration of architecture and its natural surroundings. The rustic teahouses
sequestered in garden corners, the stones leading from the pond up to
the Shoin complex, the open verandas and removable exterior screens,
all contribute to that interrelation.”11 The reference here to rustic teahouses calls attention to the fact that Katsura, with its several retreats The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture 179 Fig. 51 Katsura Detached Palace (photograph by Joseph Shulman) for the enjoyment of tea or engagement in the tea ceremony, is also an
outstanding example of the third of the shoin styles, the sukiya or teahouse style.
One final work of Tokugawa-period architecture that must be noted
is the Tòshògû Shrine in Nikkò (fig. 52). Present-day visitors to Japan
who take the excursion of several hours by train from Tokyo to Nikkò
will be enchanted by its beautiful mountain and forest setting. They will
also be dazzled by a shrine comprising brilliantly colored buildings,
almost completely encased in a profusion of carvings and other ornamentation, that are marvels of craftsmanship. This great shrine was constructed during the seventeenth ce...
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- Spring '13