oue 御上
KEY WORD : architecture / aristocratic dwellings, folk dwellings
1 The wife of a member of the upper classes and her living chambers. The term, used in the Muromachi period, also referred to a building used by family members as a daily living area. The oue of the temple Honganji 本願寺, recorded as reconstructed in 1548, is an example of a daily living area. Oue survived into the Edo period as a polite term for a married woman.

2 In traditional vernacular houses *minka 民家, a term widely used for the main everyday living room. It often had the boarded surface of the floor exposed rather than covered with *atami 畳 mats, and possessed an open hearth *irori 囲炉裏 cut into the floor, around which meals were eaten and some cooking was done. It often contained a Shinto altar *kamidana 神棚 and sometimes a Buddhist one *butsudan 仏壇. In addition to being a family room it was often a room in which guests of comparable social status were received. In the simplest examples, the floor might be no more than *doza 土座, beaten earth overlain with rice chaff momigara 籾殻 and thin matting mushiro 筵. The position and to some extent the character of the oue varies according to house-type and area. It usually abuts the earth-floored area *doma 土間. In Hokuriku 北陸 and Chuubu 中部 and in parts of Touhoku 東北 Shikoku 四国 and norhtern Kyuushuu 九州 in both farmhouses nouka 農家 and townhouses *machiya 町家, it is generally equivalent to the *hiroma 広間, and is frequently unceiled and undivided from the doma, sometimes creating spaces of considerable grandeur, as in such largescale machiya as the Kita 喜多 house in Nonoichichou 野野市町, Ishikawa prefecture In these areas the kitchen is often a part of the oue, but sometimes there is a separate kitchen *daidokoro 台所 located to the rear of the oue. In other cases, the oue is the equivalent of the kitchen. For example, in farmhouses of the Kinki 近畿 district, such as those of Kawachi Nagano 河内長野 near Osaka, the oue is situated toward the rear of the house, and is alternatively referred to as daidokoro. In Imai 今井 machiya, the oue usually has tatami on the floor, and a ceiling, and there is no irori. It is also divided from the doma by sliding panels, though since these generally take the form of rain shutters *amado 雨戸 with only a single grooved track ipponmizo 一本溝 and a shutterbox *tobukuro 戸袋, it is likely that they were left open during the day and closed at night. One school of thought contends that the term oue originally referred to the entire raised floor part of the house, in contradistinction to the earth-floor area. The pronunciation of the term varies considerably in different regional dialects, and although oue is the most common, oe おえ, ooe おおえ, oei おえい, and oie おいえ are also encountered. The term is more commonly written with kana 仮名 than with Chinese characters. The room name *okami 御上, used in certain districts, is written using the same characters as oue, and is of a similar nature. See also *chanoma 茶の間, *ima 居間, *joui 上居, and *dei 出居.

3 Pronounced oe in Yamanashi, Gifu and the southern part of Nagano prefectures, a term used by members of subordinate branch families or bunke 分家, for the house of the honke 本家 or main branch of an extended family.


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