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Momoyama Period

Updated on January 25, 2013

1573-1603

Japan's finest teahouses were constructed during this period. Prominent among their designers was Seno no Rikyu (1521-91) whose Taian at Kyoto (1582), using traditional wood, plaster and matting, creates a mood of poetic rusticity.

The other main architectural form of the period was the fortified castle, solidly built to withstand earthquakes and the newly introduced firearms, often surrounded by a deep moat. Typical is Matsumoto Castle (1582) which is built upon massive piled stone foundations. Another practical aspect of its design is the sharply sloped roof to cope with heavy snowfalls. Of Momoyama Palace (circa 1600) only the audience hall remains. Its spectacular decoration includes many colorful and intricately carved screens, gilt coffered ceilings and murals.

Castle and palace decoration produced some of the period's most magnificent painting. Kano Eitoku (1543-90) painted screens and panels with designs of great grandeur in sumptuous color and gold leaf. Sumi painting flourished under such masters as Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610) and a new style, nambam, depicting western scenes and customs, emerged.

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