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Unformatted text preview: e Tokugawa shogunate to restrict the possession and repair
of castles, have taken their toll over the centuries. In addition to those
torn down or allowed to decay in Tokugawa times, a number of fortifications were reduced in the fighting that accompanied the Meiji Restoration
of 1868; and an especially splendid castle at Nagoya was demolished during an air attack in World War II.
Although no longer in existence, Nobunaga’s castle at Azuchi and
Hideyoshi’s at Momoyama have given their names to the cultural epoch
of the age of unification. The designation of this epoch as Azuchi-Momoyama (or, for the sake of convenience, simply Momoyama) is quite appropriate in view of the significance of castles—as represented by these two
historically famous structures—in the general progress, cultural and
otherwise, of these exciting years. For castles served not only as fortifications but also as centers of urban growth in the form of castle towns and
as the symbols of daimyo authority and material opulence.
Apart from moats and great protective walls of stone, the most conspicuous feature of the Japanese castle was the many-storied keep or
donjon (the tenshu mentioned in the passage about Azuchi castle). The
typical keep had white plastered walls and complexly arranged, hipped
and gabled roofs of tile, designed so that each roof was smaller in size
than the one directly below it. Although the keeps were relatively safe
from attack by incendiary missiles, owing to the composition of their
walls and their sloped roofs, they were highly vulnerable to cannon. But
Western-style artillery was not introduced into warfare in Japan until the
late 1580s, shortly before Hideyoshi completed unification. And, in any
case, the keeps of these late sixteenth century Japanese castles were not
primarily designed as last-ditch militar y strongholds. Rather, they were
intended to symbolize the power and eminence of their masters. Their
exteriors were imposing and their interiors were carefully arranged into
private living quarters, decorated according to the prevailing tastes of the
age. As we shall see, some of the...
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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.
- Spring '13