The Kura - Japanese Art Treasures

Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.

Buddhist Carving from the Main Tower of Himeji Castle

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Devotional Objects: Pre 1900: Item # 1488705
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A protective deity is carved into this Piece of a pillar from Himeji Castle dating from the Meiji period restoration of the Tenshukaku (main tower). It is branded with the Yaki-in which reads Himeji Jo Ko-zai-in (Brand of the old wood from Himeji Castle). It has long been a method of raising funds in Japan to offer replaced pieces of a historical building to those who donate to the restoration. These pieces are commonly branded with a special seal, called a yaki-in, which is heated and burnt into the surface, stating from which famous building the Ko-zai or old material, comes from. This large piece also has on another side written “Keicho 5 (1602) Ikeda Terumasa Chikujo (Castle made by Ikeda Terumasa) Kokuho Himeji Jo Tenshukaku Kozai (Old material from the Main Tower of National Treasure Himeji Castle) Yonkai Ko-neta (4th Floor small joist). It is 89 cm (35 inches) tall, 12 x 13 cm (roughly 5 inches) square.
Himeji Castle dates to 1333 when Akamatsu Norimura built a fort on top of Himeyama hill. The fort was dismantled and rebuilt as Himeyama Castle in 1346 and then remodeled into Himeji Castle two centuries later. Himeji Castle was then significantly remodeled in 1581 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who added a three-story castle keep. In 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu awarded the castle to Ikeda Terumasa for his help in the Battle of Sekigahara, and Ikeda completely rebuilt the castle from 1601 to 1609, expanding it into a large castle complex. Several buildings were later added to the castle complex by Honda Tadamasa from 1617 to 1618. For almost 700 years, Himeji Castle has remained intact, even throughout the bombing of Himeji in World War II, and natural disasters including the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake. Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and it was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country and five structures of the castle are also designated National Treasures.
In 1873 (Meiji 6), many of Japan's castles were destroyed due to the Castle Abolition Ordinance as they were seen as symbols of the former government (Shogun) and were no longer necessary for defense, but around 1877 (Meiji 10), when the major changes at the beginning of the Meiji period had come to an end, there was born a movement to preserve the countries castles. At the request of Colonel Shigeto Nakamura, who oversaw construction and repairs in the Army, Himeji Castle was also preserved with national funds, including its large and small castle towers and turrets, along with Nagoya Castle (Unfortunately, Nagoya Castle was later burnt down in the war). following, temporary repairs were carried out, but due to lack of funding, full-scale renovation was postponed until 1910. At this time the large castle tower was repaired along with the remaining small castle towers (east small castle tower, west small castle tower, inui small castle tower) in the first phase of construction.