shouji 障子
KEY WORD : architecture / general terms
Also called souji, a term prevalent in the medieval age. A generic term for partitions that can divide the interior of a building into separate rooms. They may slide, hang or remain stationary. There are many names for them primarily based on type, use and design. Shouji have been categorized in many ways resulting in an overlapping of classifications. The names of the various shouji are derived from the following characteristics:

1 The method of opening and closing: hikishouji 引障子 slide horizontally; *kakeshouji 掛障子 are a hanging screen; *suriage shouji 摺上障子 and *hirakishouji 開障子 are sliding casement screens.

2 The method of arranging the muntins includes: tatehonshigesan shouji 竪本繁桟障子 (closely spaced vertical muntins); yokoshigesan shouji 横繁桟障子 (horizontal muntins that are closely spaced); mabarasan shouji 疎桟障子 (muntins that are few and widely spaced); futsuu shouji 普通障子 (muntins on one side only); and ryoumen shouji 両面障子 (muntins on both sides with paper in between).

3 The location and design of the panel board varies koshishouji 腰障子, have hip level or lower panel boards which manaka koshishouji 間中腰障子 have a central hip. Decorative variations include carved patterns, wickerwork *ajiro 網代; panels selected for fine wood grain, panels with bamboo or reeds *natsushouji 夏障子, arranged horizontally or vertically. Shouji covered with paper so that no framework is visible are called *mizugoshi shouji 水腰障子 and is commonly used.

4 Shouji are also classified by materials used, for example, when bamboo is used, the appellation *takeshouji 竹障子 is common, and shouji covered with oiled paper are called aburashouji 油障子 or *amashouji 雨障子.

5 Shouji are also named according to specific use. For example, shouji used when snow viewing are *yukimi shouji 雪見障子; shouji favored for moon viewing are called tsukimi shouji 月見障子. Regular shouji that move horizontally are set into channels or grooves cut in the lintel and sill. Formerly, separate strips of wood toiba 樋端, were nailed to the lintel. The tops of the shouji were inserted and held in place by these strips. This method is called dobumizo どぶ溝. Eventually the stiles became thicker than the frame of the shouji, and were formed into an L-shape so that no gap would appear when closed. Another method that disappeared during the Muromachi period, was to place a vertical strip of wood called nakahoudate 中方立 in the center of the opening from lintel to sill. The shouji could then close against this. Shouji is an ancient word found as early as the 780 SAIDAIJI SHIZAI RUKICHOU 西大寺資材流記帳. The FUDARAKUSAN JOUDOHEN IPPO 補陀落山浄土変一鋪 contains a statement that shouji, on which a painting appears *shouji-e 障子絵, were bound by narrow purple cloth. During the Heian period, the word shouji included opaque partitions, later called *fusuma 襖, exterior doors *shitomido 蔀戸, with a removable bottom half and a hinged top half that could swing up and hook on to the rafters under the eaves, plank doors with horizontal wood strips attached at intervals from top to bottom *mairado 舞良戸; and even free standing partitions *tsuitate shouji 衝立障子. According to Ban Dainagon emaki 伴大納言絵巻, the shouji, at Kyoto Gosho Seiryouden 京都御所清涼殿, called *Konmeichi-no-shouji 昆明地障子, were removable wood partitions. The same type of shouji were also referred to as *Umagata-no-shouji 馬形障子. In contrast, a style of fixed shouji were used in the Shishinden 紫宸殿 and are found in the Seiryouden too. The former were called *Araumi-no-shouji 荒海障子 and the latter were called *Kenjou-no-shouji 賢聖障子. *Fusuma 襖 and tsuitate shouji evolved from these types to become moveable. The word tsuitate shouji is mentioned in Pillow Book MAKURA NO SOUSHI 枕草紙, written by Sei Shounagon 清少納言. From the end of the 12c to the early 13c, the term *akarishouji 明障子 was applied to removable partitions that were covered on one side with cloth, often thin silk, or paper. The partitions were only covered with translucent material on one side of the frame to allow a subtle diffusion of light yet restrict the passage of wind and glare. The increased skill in producing good quality Japanese paper *washi 和紙, also contributed to the popularity of akarishouji. Akarishouji were used in combination with shitomido, which open horizontally, with *tsumado 妻戸, a type of door hinged on one side; and with mairado, plank doors entirely covered with paper. When shouji were no longer exposed to rain, the amount of wood used was greatly reduced. They were called koshitsuki shouji 腰付障子, doors with low-set panels. This type is still in common used today. Shouji that consist of stationary horizontal strips are called tsukuritsuke shouji 造付障子. See *wakishoji 脇障子.


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