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Edo Castle

Edo Castle / Honkan Room 16   October 22, 2013 (Tue) - December 23, 2013 (Mon)

Preliminary Sliding-door Paintings for the "Pine-tree Corridor" of Edo Castle, By Kano Tan'en, Sumiyoshi Hirotsura, Edo period, dated 1845

Through materials including architectural plans as well as old documents and photos, this exhibition introduces the layout and stages of construction of Edo Castle, which was the castle of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate.

Edo Castle, whose origins date back to medieval times, was built on an unprecedented scale as a public construction project imposed on feudal lords during the reigns of the first three Tokugawa shoguns (Ieyasu, Hidetada and Iemitsu) in the first half of the 17th century. The outer walls, which enclosed vast estates of warrior families as well as town areas, extended outward for a total of 14 kilometers, while the inner walls alone enclosed an area that surpassed the size of all other castles in Japan. Within the inner walls, many buildings and structures were built together. Collectively known as the inner castle, this had an area of around 330,000 square meters.

Thousands of people lived in the inner castle, in buildings such as the ladies' chambers, the residences of the shogun, heirs and influential figures, as well as the shogunate's government offices.

Edo Castle was destroyed by fire several times, but each time its buildings were rebuilt in their original style, except for the central castle tower. These buildings had magnificent exteriors, while the interiors also featured extravagantly luxurious designs.

The castle's appearance can be glimpsed in the illustrations and old documents in this exhibition, although recent excavations and surveys have increasingly clarified the castle's true appearance. To introduce the enormous Edo Castle, this exhibition combines materials from the Tokyo National Museum collection with those from the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, the Chiyoda City Board of Education, the Tokyo Metropolitan Library, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Plan of Edo Castle, Edo period, 19th century
1:100 Scale Drawing of the Castle Tower in the Keep of Edo Castle, Formerly owned by the Kora family, Edo period, 19th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Tokyo Metropolitan Library)
Album of Photographs of Edo Castle, Compiled by Ninagawa Noritane; photographed by Yokoyama Matsusaburo; colored by Takahashi Yuichi, 1871 (Important Cultural Property)

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