choudai 帳台
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings, aristocratic dwellings
1 A curtained sleeping platform used by those of highest rank in shinden style *shinden-zukuri 寝殿造 residences of the aristocracy in the Heian period. Its origins are believed to go back the 5c. Often prefixed with the honorific mi 御 (michoudai 御帳台), and sometimes abbreviated to michou 御帳. The base was a low lacquered platform about 2m x 2m in area and 39cm high called a *hamayuka 浜床. Two straw mats *tatami 畳, about 15cm thick were laid on the hamayuka and over this was a thin mat, uwamushiro 表筵, on which to lie. The mat was flanked by a pair of curtains on freestanding frames, kichou 几帳. A small pillow, makura 枕, was also provided. Four posts, one at each corner, supported a canopy over this platform, an arrangement reminiscent of a 4 poster bed. Curtains, tobari 帳 or *katabira 帷 of patterned silk gauze were suspended from the canopy, to ensure the privacy of the occupant. Mirrors, kagami 鏡, and pieces of rhinoceros horn, saikaku 犀角, were hung from the frame to ward off evil influences. Sometimes the periphery was closed with sliding screen *shouji 障子 panels rather than tobari. Details of the choudai varied according to the status of the occupant, and simpler versions often omitted the hamayuka. The choudai was originally set up in the enclosed chamber called the *nurigome 塗篭 in the core area *moya 母屋, of the shinden, but in the latter half of the Heian period it was often erected in the open hall of the moya. It continued to be used among the high aristocracy in the Kamakura period. Also called hamayuka, especially when used by the empress.

2 An alternative term for *choudai-no-ma 帳台の間 or *nando 納戸, the small enclosed room beyond the doorway known as *choudaigamae 帳台構え. Originally a sleeping room.

3 In traditional vernacular houses *minka 民家, on Izu Ooshima 伊豆大島 and Hachijoujima 八丈島 and in parts of Mie, Yamaguchi and Hyougo prefectures, an enclosed room in the rear part of a the living room, at the upper end *kamite 上手, of a house, used as a sleeping room, usually for the master and mistress of the house. On Izu Ooshima and Hachijojima also called chouda ちょうだ.

4 In urban vernacular houses *machiya 町家, in Ooita prefecture, the room beyond the naka-no-ma 中の間 and to the rear of the shop *mise 店, used as a shop and office *miseoku 店奥.

5 In the Izu Shotou 伊豆諸島, apart from Ooshima and Hachijoujima, a room in the rear range of living rooms used for storing clothes, utensils and food.

6 Pronounced chouda ちょうだ, in vernacular houses in Toyama and Gifu prefectures. An alternative term for *nando 納戸, an enclosed room toward the rear of the house used as a sleeping chamber and a place to keep clothes and valuables by the master and mistress of the house. It is not certain which Chinese characters are meant to represent this word. See *choudaigamae 帳台構え.

7 Written choudai 帳代. A sleeping area built into the rear of a shinden 寝殿 or comparable upper class residential pavilion. This kind of choudai appears to have emerged toward the end of the Heian period, when the earlier freestanding sleeping platform ceased to be erected in the public, ceremonial zone *moya 母屋, of the shinden. This type of choudai was moved to the rear *hisashi 廂, where it became a permanent built-in architectural element rather than an elaborate piece of furniture. It had a raised threshold *shikii 敷居, which is sometimes thought to be a remnant of the base platform *hamayuka 浜床, of the original choudai. Others think perhaps it results from the difference in height between the floor level of the rear hisashi and the outer hisashi *magobisashi 孫廂. The built-in choudai also appears to have had single sliding door *katabikido 片引戸 for its entry with flanking panels *sodekabe 袖壁, prefiguring the later *choudaigamae 帳台構え or nandogamae 納戸構え. The change of Chinese characters from 帳台 to 帳代 was not consistently observed and 帳台 was often used for the built-in version and retained in such terms as *choudai-no-ma 帳台の間 and choudaigamae.


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