October 28, 2022

Shin-goten (new palace): Katsura-rikyu (Kyoto)

Shin-goten (new palace): Katsura-rikyu (Kyoto)

The Shoin (study hall) buildings, Shin-goten (new palace), teahouses, and so on are elaborately located throughout the site of about 6 hectares. This villa is known both in Japan and abroad for its sophisticated architectural design and highly refined "Sukiya-zukuri" style (the tea-ceremony-room style). 

The ornaments and furnishings of these buildings and the scenery of the pond garden are admired as one of the most remarkable masterpieces of the residence of a court noble in the early Edo period (1603-1867). This type of architecture is called "Shinden-zukuri" which denotes the typical style of court nobles' houses in the Heian period (794-1185,) which features an extensive garden with paths around a central pond.
At the time of the establishment of this villa, the water level of the pond was the same as that of the Katsura river flowing nearby, and the pond was directly connected to the river by a channel to enable a pleasure boat to go out from the garden to the Katsura River.

The floors of the palace and Shoin buildings are raised high to secure them against the floodwater of the river. 

When this garden was covered with floodwater, these buildings, which are made of delicate timbers and paper, might have seemed to be floating gently on the moonlit water like a beautiful sailing ship anchored there. 

(Unfortunately, the Shoin buildings were undergoing extensive repairs and were completely enclosed with construction partition panels. Even their exteriors could hardly be seen.)

No comments: