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Japanese architecture

Castles and Palaces

An important development of the late 16th cent. arose as a result of feudal warfare. Fortified castles, of which one still exists at Himeji, were based on the European donjon and were erected on high bases formed of enormous stone blocks. In the Edo period (1615–1867) two particularly beautiful palaces were erected in and near Kyoto, both constructed on an asymmetrical and flexible plan. The Nijo palace is noted for its sumptuousness in terms of carved wood, black lacquer, gold decorations, and screen paintings. The Katsura palace is remarkable for its simplicity and elegance and its merging of outdoor and indoor spaces. Here Japanese taste is epitomized in the subtlety and delicacy of the landscaping, with an ingenious arrangement of rocks, pebbles, sand, plants, and water.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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