Outline of Exhibition

Palaces, Religious Structures, and Dwellings in East Asia -The Truth of Traditional Japanese Architecture-
Period Jun 30 (Tue) - Aug 30 (Sun), 2009
Venue Special Exhibition Galleries, National Museum of Japanese History
Admissions

Adults: ¥830 (¥560)
Senior high school & college students: ¥450 (¥250)
* Fees in parentheses apply to groups of 20 or more
* Admission to permanent collection included
* Free admission for elementary & junior high school students
* Free admission for senior high school students every Saturday

Hours 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (no entrance after 4:30 p.m.)
Closed

Jul 6 (Mon), 13 (Mon), 21 (Tue), 27 (Mon), Aug 3 (Mon), 17 (Mon), and 24 (Mon)

Sponsor National Museum of Japanese History

It is believed that traditional Japanese architecture, which is represented by Shinto shrines, temples, palaces, dwellings, castles, private houses, tearooms, etc., is exclusive only to the Japanese archipelago, starting from the Jomon and Yayoi periods through the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods, thus being unique and indigenous to Japan. But is this a true story? Looking at East Asia, you will find that Chinese and Korean architectures have many features very similar to the Japanese types, and it is difficult to tell what is unique and indigenous in Japanese architecture. From this standpoint, this special exhibition aims to make us think about traditional Japanese architecture by using the word "unique." In the exhibition, you will think firstly about what is unique in Japanese architecture by comparing it with Chinese and Korean architectures, and based on that, you will then consider the commonality and universality of East Asian architecture.

The architecture in this case can be represented by palaces as a symbol of royal authority, religious buildings as religious bases such as temples, and dwellings as places of human activities. Architectural techniques and production systems for making such buildings are also considered.

As buildings cannot be carried into the exhibition room, they are shown in architectural models, photographs, and relevant materials. Paintings, architectural technical books, and also carpenter's tools to make buildings are displayed for comparison between Korea and Japan. Architectural structures and ancones, which are generally complicated, are explained by using not only photographs and drawings, but also computer graphics. We hope this exhibition can provide a key for thinking about the entire concept of human culture on which the architecture stood from the viewpoint of the East Asian world and Japan through a comparison of individual buildings.

Exhibition Lineup

Part 1: Palaces - China, Korea and Japan Viewed from the Symbol of Royal Authority

For respective architectures of Chinese, Korean and Japanese palaces, the difference and features of walled cities as a place of palace, the architectural arrangements and forms, and also the Emperor's chairs placed in the palace center as a symbol of royal authority are shown in photographs and drawings to exhibit the entire concept of respective royal authorities.

  1. Chinese palace
  2. Korean palace
  3. Japanese palace

Part 2: Temples - China, Korea and Japan Viewed from Religious Architecture

While the religious architecture is mainly represented by Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan, there are also Taoism and Confucianism buildings in China, and the religious architecture in Korea may be represented mainly by the Confucianism buildings. The exhibition items are displayed so as to show such difference.

  1. Concept and types of religious architecture
  2. Forms of religious architecture
  3. Shapes of towers

Part 3: Dwellings - China, Korea, and Japan Viewed from Lifestyles and Ceremonies

Dwellings were not only a place for people's daily lives, but also important in the sense that they represented the social relationship of dwellers. The architectures of dwellings in East Asia are shown in photographs and drawings of the existing dwellings for comparison.

  1. Outline of history of dwellings in East Asia
  2. Comparison among Chinese, Korean, and Japanese dwellings

Part 4: Architectural Techniques and Production Organizations

The architectural techniques for making buildings and the organizations of architectural engineers or the architectural production systems differ considerably in China, Korea, and Japan. The differences in carpenter's tools and building sites are shown for comparison.

  1. Comparison of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean architectural production systems
  2. Comparison of Korean and Japanese carpenter's tools
  3. Comparison and explanation of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese architectural terms
  4. Explanation of ancones
Photograph of painted model of Byodo-in Phoenix Hall (segment): Museum collection   Photograph of Building of Hall of Supreme Harmony
Photograph of painted model of Byodo-in Phoenix Hall (segment): Museum collection
 
Photograph of Building of Hall of Supreme Harmony
Architectural model of Ichijoji Temple three-story pagoda: Museum collection (1/10 scale)   Photograph of Pagoda of Fogong Temple in China
Architectural model of Ichijoji Temple three-story pagoda: Museum collection (1/10 scale)
 
Photograph of Pagoda of Fogong Temple in China
Photograph of Chongnimsaji five-story pagoda in Buyeo, Korea   Architectural model of Jishoji Temple Togudo: Museum collection (1/10 scale)
Photograph of Chongnimsaji five-story pagoda in Buyeo, Korea
 
Architectural model of Jishoji Temple Togudo: Museum collection (1/10 scale)

Note: Please note that items in the exhibition are subject to change.