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chuumon@’†–å
KEY WORD :@architecture / gates
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1@Middle gate. The second or inner gate on the north-south axis, of a temple compound in the ancient period. It was erected some distance behind the main gate *nandaimon “ì‘å–å, on the same axis, and was the principal entrance to the sacred precinct. A roofed, semi-enclosed corridor *kairou ‰ñ˜L was attached to each side. Although no chuumon remain from the Asuka period, such gates were believed to be two-storied from the early 7c. through the Nara period. The Chuumon at Houryuuji –@—²Ž› (founded 607) has Guardian figures, Niouzou m‰¤‘œ, that are placed in bays on either side of the entrance bays. However, with the arrival of new Buddhist sects such as Shingon ^Œ¾ and Tendai “V‘ä in the 9c, the middle gate was either greatly reduced in size and importance or eliminated altogether. In the Zen sect, tradition has it that the gates known as *sanmon ŽO–å and *mon –å of the Zen temple are descendant of the chuumon.

Houryuuji Chuumon –@—²Ž›’†–å (Nara)

2@In an aristocratic dwelling shinden Q“a, of the Heian period, the gates partway along the corridors *chuumonrou ’†–å˜L, connecting the residential quarters tai-no-ya ‘΂̉®, and the fishing or fountain pavilions tsuridono ’Þ“a or izumidono ò“a. See *shinden-zukuri Q“a‘¢.

3@The gate dividing the outer tea garden *sotoroji ŠO˜I’n, and the inner tea garden *uchiroji “à˜I’n, of a teahouse. The chuumon serves as a symbol to mark the boundary between the relatively profane world of the outer garden and the pure "wilderness" of the inner garden. It is also the spot where the host of the tea gathering usually meets his guests. Compared to the outer gate at the entrance to the *roji ˜I’n, the chuumon is light in construction, usually with a roof made of cogrongrass, cypress bark, bamboo, or *yamatobuki ‘å˜a•˜ (the technique in which boards are placed in two rows vertical to the ridge of the roof). In addition to wood and splint doors, there are bamboo lattice doors takekoushido ’|ŠiŽqŒË, and wicker doors ajirido –Ô‘ãŒË. The gate posts are typically logs and the entire structure is of the *udegimon ˜r–Ø–å (roof and bracket gate) type. Several of the trump stones *yaku-ishi –ðÎ, such as the guest's stone *kyaku-ishi ‹qÎ, host's stone teishu-ishi ’àŽåÎ, and the step-over stone *norigoe-ishi æ‰zÎ, are placed on either side of the chuumon. In some cases, the under-the-door stone tozuri-ishi ŒË Î, is placed beneath the gate door. Sometimes the straddling gate or *nakakuguri ’†ö replaces the chuumon. The use of chuumon in roji is associated with the design of Kobori Enshuu ¬–x‰“B (1579-1647).
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