matabashira 股柱
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings
A type of post found in vernacular houses *minka 民家, of the 17c- early 18c in the central and northern part of the Echizen 越前 district, Fukui prefecture. The matabashira is believed to be an archaic survival but there are a few extant. A post of substantial width, its distinctive characteristic is that it has a crotch, mata 又 or 股, near its top and bifurcates into two stumpy branches, eda 枝, one shorter than the other. The shorter branch supports the other purlin *geyageta 下屋桁 or kawageta 側桁. The longer branch, which is inclined inwards, supports the plates *jouyageta 上屋桁. Other tie beams *nuki 貫, may also be joined to it and supported in a variety of ways. Like the transverse roof beams *chounabari 釿梁, the matabashira is an approach to the problem of removing the main frame posts *jouyabashira 上屋柱 or irikawabashira 入側柱. The few surviving examples stand upon foundation stones *soseki 礎石, but it is probable that matabashira evolved as earthfast posts *hottatebashira 掘立柱, since a firm base in the earth would have been necessary to carry the load of the jouyageta on the upper fork. It is likely that the inherent instability of the matabashira when it was set upon foundation stones accounts for its early disappearance. In a number of surviving matabashira, an attempt was made to avoid this problem by using a matabashira in the corner of a building and loading it from two directions; specially with the transverse geyageta and the longitudinal jouyageta, as in the 17c Tsubokawa 坪川 House, an important Cultural Property.

*mata-zukuri 股造 

(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.