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THE RESTORATION OF CHIKURIN-JI MAIN HALL DURING THE MEIJI ERA

  • MIURA Yoichi
    Dept. of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Cultural Studies, University of Kochi

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Other Title
  • 竹林寺本堂の明治修理
  • チクリンジ ホンドウ ノ メイジ シュウリ

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Abstract

 The approaches taken to restore Chikurin-ji Main Hall during the Meiji era and the details of the project were elucidated through a study of “Chikurin-ji Preservation Society's Documents” with reference to other supporting evidence.<br> The restoration, which started on January 20, 1911 and was completed on March 14, 1912, was supervised by Amanuma Syunichi, an engineer employed by Nara Prefecture.<br> Assuming that the temple was constructed from the Bunmei period (1469-1487) onwards, the restoration took place approximately 400 years after the temple was renovated. The “renovation plans” called for the proactive preservation of old materials, and if they could not be reused, then they should be replaced with new materials that adhered strictly to the original format.<br> The condition of the temple before the restoration was initiated was described in a report titled “Report on Damages”. While the exterior column spacing remained consistent with the existing form, the doors, windows, and frames were all replaced according to the previous format. The pent roof (gohai) added during the Keityo period (1596-1615) was not removed.<br> The report indicated that the restoration work adhered to a specific restoration strategy, while also replacing the roof materials and changing the wooden boards used along the ends of the roof (oni ita) with ridge-end tiles (oni gawara). The dates in the ink drawings (bokusho) of the roof frames discovered during the Heisei restoration also matched those of the documents (heragaki) for the ridge-end tiles (oni gawara).<br> Although the relocation and reconstruction of the Chikurin-ji Main Hall is not mentioned in the supplements to “The Index of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties”, the study titled, “Request for Changing the Site of the Main Hall” and the attached drawings dated March 4, 1911 revealed that such a relocation was approved during the Meiji era restoration.<br> Finally, a study of the “Chikurin-ji Preservation Society's Documents” revealed that the restoration efforts undertaken in the Meiji era made extensive repairs to the Main Hall due to concerns related to the severe damage and potential destruction by two rainstorms in 1907. Specifically, this undertaking was intended to preserve the condition of structures that existed before the Meiji era restoration. Since the records and ink drawings of the alterations that were made after the original construction are unclear, the work conducted during the Meiji era probably did not restore the Main Hall back to its original form. This is a topic that deserves comprehensive investigation in future.

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