Greek and Japanese Architecture
For a great many years, architecture has been a breaking point for different artisticeras in history. Some of the most famous “works of art” have been chapels, temples, and tombs. Among the most dominant and influential eras of great architecture are the sophisticated, stoic Greeco-Roman periods and the more mystical, elemental Japanese eras. These two very distinct and very different eras have more in common than you may realize.
When work began on the Parthenon in 447 BC, the Athenian Empire was at the
height of its power. Work on the temple continued until 432; the Parthenon, then,
represents the tangible and visible blossoming of Athenian ...view middle of the document...
Japan's ancient castles and palaces, timber houses, tatami-mat tea rooms and Zen gardens,
Shinto shrines, and Buddhist temples, as well as the latest shopping centers, sports
facilities, residential complexes, office towers, department stores, and high-tech structures are some excellent examples of Japanese Architecture (hkuhist2.hku.hk).
Japan is described as a country of wood, and the reverence of natural materials. The depths of the love and admiration that the Japanese people have for wood are famous, which is similar to the Greek love of pristine marble and its smooth surfaces. This can be seen in an old Japanese expression "plants and trees all have something to say", Japanese believe that trees have a soul and say they can sense spirits, or "kami", within them. It is trees that form the core which nurtures the sensibilities about nature held by the Japanese people. It is thus natural for architecture in Japan to be based on wood. Many structures are made of wood, ranging from shrines and temples to palaces and homes, and in doing so grand structures have been created (Stokstad).
Castles and palaces dating from the end of the 16th century, including Oda
Nobunaga's Azuchi Castle and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Osaka Castle and Jurakudai Palace,
are tall castle towers that rise into the sky at the center of groups of magnificent buildings executed in the Shoin style, decorated with carvings and wall paintings done on gold backgrounds. In some of these castles, tea rooms with plain thatched roofs were favored, with the rooms made as small as could be built. These two elements of magnificence and plainness jointly formed the tastefulness of the Momoyama period (1568-1600).
However, these two factors by no means contradict one...