Nakazonae

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Kentozuka, Tōshōdai-ji

Nakazonae (中備・中具?) are decorative intercolumnar struts installed in the intervals between bracket complexes (tokyō) at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan.[1]

In origin they were necessary to help support the roof, however at the end of the 10th century the invention of the hidden roof[note 1] made them superfluous.[2] They remained in use, albeit in a purely decorative role, and are typical of the Wayō style. The Zenshūyō style used by Zen temples has instead bracket complexes even between posts.

Kentozuka[edit]

The simplest of these struts are the kentozuka (間斗束 lit. interval block strut?, see photo above) composed of a short post and a bearing block.[3]

Minozuka[edit]

Similar to the kentozuka is the fan-shaped strut called minozuka (蓑束?, lit. straw raincoat strut) (see gallery), which can have decorations on the two sides called 笈形 (oigata?) or a collar-like decoration between post and bearing block. The name comes from its shape, similar to that of a traditional straw raincoat called mino.[4]

Hana-hijiki[edit]

A variant of the kentozuka is the hana-hijiki (花肘木?), composed by either one or two horizontal series bearing blocks standing over an elaborately carved floral pattern.[1]

Warizuka[edit]

The warizuka (割束?) strut consists of a wooden inverted V topped by a bearing block.[3]

Kaerumata[edit]

The kaerumata (蛙股・蟇股 lit. frog legs?) was named after its shape, resembling a frog's splayed legs.[1]

Its origins are not known with certainty, but it may be an evolution of the warizuka.[1] Invented during the 12th century, it became gradually more and more elaborate, to the point where in the Edo period the strut itself would be hidden behind the decorations.[1]

Two basic types exist. In the case of the sukashi-kaerumata (透蟇股?), the space above and between the frog legs is either empty or carved. In the case of the ita-kaerumata (板蟇股?), the space between the legs has completely disappeared, leaving behind a solid board with an external frog-leg profile.[5]

Types of nakazonae[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The hidden roof (noyane (野屋根?)) is a structure, composed of a true roof with a second roof beneath, which permits to obtain a heavily slanted roof with arbitrarily shallow eaves. Having its own, hidden roof support system, it made the nakazonae largely redundant.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Nishi, Kazuo; Hozumi, Kazuo (1996) [1983]. What is Japanese architecture? (illustrated ed.). Kodansha International. pp. 39–40. ISBN 4-7700-1992-0. 
  2. ^ Parent, Mary Neighbour. Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Nakazonae, retrieved on April 28, 2011
  3. ^ a b Parent, Mary Neighbour. Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Kentozuka, retrieved on April 19, 2011
  4. ^ Parent, Mary Neighbour. Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Minozuka, retrieved on April 28, 2011
  5. ^ Parent, Mary Neighbour. Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Kaerumata, retrieved on April 19, 2011