VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL
THE MUROMACHI PERIOD
When Ashikaga Takauji became shogun in 1336, he was the first of 15 shoguns in the Ashikaga family, seated in the Muromachi district in Kyoto, and that would rule Japan until 1568.
It was also a time of religious tolerance, in which Buddhism coexisted peacefully with Shinto, while in Nagasaki Christianity entered rampant to Japan, especially led by the Catholic missionary Francis Xavier .
The civil wars developed until 1573 when the daimyo Oda Nobunaga enters Kyoto defeating the Ashikaga clan, restoring peace and ending the hegemony Muromachi.
THE SILVER PAVILION.
While the Golden Pavilion , built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, represented the pinnacle of this era, the Silver Pavilion (1474), built by his grandson Ashikaga Yoshimasa marked the decline of the clan.
The palace complex would become a temple after Yoshimasa's death and it was called Jisho-ji (慈 照 寺) or Temple of the Shining Mercy. However, it became known as Ginkaku-ji, or Temple of the Silver Pavilion (银阁寺).
This is a very simple building, arranged in two levels, with curved roofs and topped by a phoenix made of brass.
Its lower level, called Shinkunda (Chamber of the empty heart) measures 6.7 m x 5.4 m and it is divided by movable panels that give flexibility to the interior space. The wooden sliding doors allow us to see a simple room of flat ceiling. Inside, they venerate the image of Jizo, the protector of children.
The room is surrounded by a railing and the walls have bell-shaped windows (3 in front of the pond and in the back and two on each side).
THE SHOIN STYLE
One of the main contributions of the Muromachi period to the Japanese residential architecture is the Shoin style. "Shoin" means "writing room" and has its origins in the rooms of the humble rooms of the monasteries, more modest than the structures of the Heian and Kamakura periods.
The Tōgudō room of Ginkaku-ji, a modest one-level structure with a roof of cypress bark, contains the oldest Shoin style of Japan.
It is impossible to understand the Silver Pavilion without also considering the surrounding mountains, nor without underscore the role that has the moon in its conception. The moon is a crucial element in the Japanese mentality, present in the visual arts and literature. Spiritual enlightenment in Zen Buddhism is often portrayed as a reflection of the moon on the water: the moon makes the surface visible and vice versa.
Higashiyama area, where the Ginkakuji stands, was reknown as a point for the contemplation of the moon even from the Heian period.
Facing the Ginkaku-ji, there is a pond where people use to contemplate the moon. Behind him is Tsukimachiyama Mountain (Mountain to wait for the moon). Yoshimasa wrote a poem about it:
For the first time in the history of Japanese landscaping sand is used only to represent elements such as water or mountains. The esplanade of sand that lies on the side of the pond, a plateau of 60 cm in height , is called Ginshaden, and that means Silver Sand Sea, whose form is said to be modeled based on the shape of the West Lake in China. In fact, when the moon rises in the eastern mountains of Tsukimachi, the sea of sand seems to generate waves in the moonlight.
In this area there is also a huge cone of sand of 1.80 m, which symbolizes the Mount Fuji, called Kougetsu dai (Platform facing the moon), designed to accentuate the reflection of the moon in the sea of sand. It is said that, as seen from the second floor of the Ginkakuji, the cone resembles a full moon reflected on a silver sea.
But the most interesting aspect of the garden is the way it interacts and makes use of the mountain in its design, offering a view of the pavilion from above, together with all buildings, allowing nice views of the city of Kyoto.
Yesterday I visited again the Ginkaku-ji and I was surprised to find that it was being restored.
Secondly, the interesting technology for the construction of roofs, made with a wooden structure that gives its characteristic curvature.
Overlapping wooden slats lay over the structure, fixed with pins of bamboo, made of Japanese cypress about 30 cm long, although only 3 cm are exposed at the bottom. As shown in the photos, every few rows the is a sheet of copper for reinforcement.