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Chiyoda Palace - Edo Castle

Item # 68924 - The Front of Chiyoda Palace - Chiyoda no On-omote - Military Practice - Sold for $170 - 7/14/2016
"Chiyoda no On-omote" ("The Front of Chiyoda Palace"). The manners and customs at the Chiyoda palace. The life of the Tokugawa shoguns. The Shogun is watching the military practice from a viewing platform on a small mound at Koganehara. Mt. Fuji looms in the background.

The artelino archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors of artelino have full access to our archive. Read the archive guide and test a trial version.
By Chikanobu Toyohara 1838-1912

During its 550 year history the appearance and significance of the imperial Japanese residential complex changed many times. Originally called Edo Castle and today called Chiyoda Palace, it is both a palace and a castle. The gigantic complex has been the center of Imperial Japan since 1868, after the last Shogun was toppled. Although the complex was largely destroyed in World War II, it was rebuilt to its previous grandeur.

Founding of Edo Castle

In 1457 Ota Dokan, son of a local feudal lord, laid the first foundation stone of the imperial residence in Edo, today called Tokyo, of what was to become the emperor's palace. In the founding years there was also a Hiramaka Shrine, dedicated to the Kami (Japanese spirit) of poetry and scholarship. Edo Castle first reached its magnificent size in 1590 when the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu chose the complex as his residence.

And so Edo grew from an unimportant fishing port into Japan's military and administrative center. The period of the Tokugawa shogunate became known as the Edo Period, the longest period of peace in Japanese history. The seat of the emperor, the absolute but powerless ruler, remained in Kyoto.

Architecture of Chiyoda Palace

Although Chiyoda Palace is a typical motif in Japanese art, in its early stages, the complex would hardly be considered traditional. Remains show that it was fortified with moats, banks and walls. The external moats had to yield to the city's expansion in more modern times.

Prestigious castles from this period featured main buildings, which followed the traditional archetype that we know from Himeji Castle. Although earthquakes and fire hazards made smaller and flatter buildings more sensible, excessive fortifications were necessary for the shielding of Japan and to demonstrate the power of the Shogun.

This approach of fortifications changed with the fire of the main castle in 1657 in the Meireki Period, after which the castle was gradually rebuilt as a prestigious palace with multiple smaller towers and gates. It later received the name Chiyoda Palace from the neighborhood Chiyoda, into which the castle was slowly integrated.

Today one recognizes the former boundaries of the castle from street names and the names of places in Chiyoda.

Power Center in Modern Times

250 years of a system of vassals ended with the Meiji Restoration, a pro west reform of the government, and stopped the disempowerment of the Shogun in 1868. Officially the 15 year old Emperor Tenno Mutsuhito took power and made Chiyoda Palace his imperial residence.

The politcal power, however, was de facto in the hands of the so called Meiji Oligarchy, composed of relatively low ranking samurai, whose leaders were previous shoguns.

The palacial complex began to expand and its exterior faces were refined but not in the traditional Japanese style. Instead historical buildings emerged in western style.

The imperial status of the palace meant that its inner life, i.e. the courtly architecture and governmental buildings, were shielded from curious passers-by by moats and luxurious gardens. Only the east garden is accessible to the public.

Visit to Chiyoda Palace

The palace opens its doors only twice a year to visitors: once on the birthday of the emperor, December 23, and at the start of the New Year on January 2. People are then allowed to cross the iron Nijubasi Bridge and enter the Chiyoda Palace via the main gates. Rebuilt after having been destroyed in World War II, the palace has shined in all its former magnificance since 1968.

The main building is an elongated two story hall with a basement, whose sloped roof tapers off with a far reaching eave. The stately fore-courtyard frames six lower wings and further smaller buildings. The total canopied area of this main complex is an impressive 22,949 square meters.

Item # 22265 - Meiji Emperor and Empress - Sold for $240 - 8/27/2006
"Nishimaru Kokyo Shinkei". Meiji Emperor, Empress, Clown Prince and court attendants in western clothing. The western wing of Chiyoda Palace and the Niju-bashi Bridge were depicted on the background.

The artelino archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors of artelino have full access to our archive. Read the archive guide and test a trial version.
By Chikanobu Toyohara 1838-1912
Item # 58180 - Chiyoda no Onomote - Archery on Horseback - Sold for $100 - 8/1/2013
"Chiyoda no Onomote Mokuroku" The scenes of customs and manners in the Chiyoda Palace where the Tokugawa Shogunate resided.
Shogun Yoshinobu is viewing the horseback archery in Ogasawara school.
This series is an interesting document for the life and the customs of the Tokugawa shogun and the feudal lords, although the idealized depiction of them might not be historically accurate.

The artelino archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors of artelino have full access to our archive. Read the archive guide and test a trial version.
By Chikanobu Toyohara 1838-1912
Item # 16840 - Guardian- Ladies of Chiyoda Palace - Sold for $300 - 11/6/2005
"Chiyoda no Oh-oku; Otachinoki" (The Ladies of Chiyoda Palace) The court ladies are guarding the retreat from the burning castle.

The artelino archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors of artelino have full access to our archive. Read the archive guide and test a trial version.
By Chikanobu Toyohara 1838-1912
Item # 42589 - Ladies of Chiyoda Palace - Festival Float - Sold for $150 - 11/15/2009
From the series, "Chiyoda no Oh-oku" (The Ladies of Chiyoda Palace). Court ladies are enjoying the parade of various "mikoshi" (portable shrine). The rooster is a symbol of the sun goddess and Shinto shrines.

The artelino archive offers a database of more than 50,000 sold Japanese prints with detailed descriptions, large images and results. artelino clients with an active purchase history and authorized consignors of artelino have full access to our archive. Read the archive guide and test a trial version.
By Chikanobu Toyohara 1838-1912

Dieter WanczuraAuthor: Dieter Wanczura

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