Architectural Change in Eighth-Century Japan

  1Japanese construction techniques and architectural styles changed in the eighth century C.E. from more traditional Japanese models to imported continental (especially Chinese) models. Several factors contributed to this, in particular with respect to the creation of two new capital cities. In essence, changes then occurring in Japanese political life were rendering past arrangements for the rulers' headquarters obsolete, and continental models offered an alternative.

  2To elaborate, before the eighth century, the elite marriage practice, which was an important instrument of political alliance making, had encouraged rulers to maintain multiple palaces: that of their own family and those of their spouses, who commonly remained at or near their native family headquarters, at least for some years after marriage. These arrangements had the effect of encouraging frequent changes in royal residence as children matured and marriage alliances changed. The customs of multiple palaces and a moveable court were feasible as long as a ruling group was modest in size and its architectural practices relatively simple.

  3Moreover, because buildings using the traditional construction of thatched roofs and wooden poles placed directly in the ground rotted away in two decades or so, periodic replacement of palaces, shrines, warehouses, gate towers, and fortress walls was essential. The custom of residential mobility was thus not especially wasteful of labor and material resources: when the time came, one simply erected a new building at a new site - reusing valuable timbers as appropriate - and burned the rest. The practical necessity of replacement was given religious sanction because the regular replacement of buildings was regarded as necessary to provide spiritual cleansing of the site.

  4As rulers of the sixth and seventh centuries expanded their realm, however, they acquired more and more underlings, administrative paraphernalia, weaponry, and tribute goods, and they needed more and more buildings to house them. As the scale of government grew, moreover, it became more important to have these people and resources close at hand where they could be more easily controlled and utilized. Under these circumstances, frequent moves by the court or replacement of buildings became more costly, even prohibitive.

  5A solution to the problem was advocated by experts from the continent. This was the use of continental principles of urban design and techniques of construction. These produced geometrically laid out capital cities whose major gates and buildings employed stone foundations, mortise-and-tenon framing (a technique for attaching timbers), and tile roofs that largely eliminated the problem of rot and the consequent need for replacement.

  6On the other hand, to construct cities and buildings of that sort required so much labor and material that their use effectively precluded periodic replacement or the transfer of a royal headquarters from site to site. Nevertheless, the notion of grand buildings and capital cities became immensely attractive to Japanese rulers during the seventh and eighth centuries. Continental regimes, the glorious new Chinese dynasties most notably, had them: they constituted an expression of political triumph, a legitimizing symbol of the first order. Moreover, the architecture was an integral part of Buddhism, and acceptance of this religion in Japan at this time fostered adoption of its building style.

  7These several conflicting factors the need to modify palace and capital arrangements but the difficulty of doing so; the wish to enjoy grandeur but the reluctance to settle for a single, immobile court all became evident by the mid-seventh century. (A) Change did come, but slowly, and in the end a compromise system was devised. (B) Traditional shrines of Shinto, the native religion of Japan, and many residential buildings continued to be built in the rottable, replaceable style that accommodated religious concerns and taboos, while city gates, major government buildings, and Buddhist temples were built in the continental fashion that met the need for permanence and grandeur. (C) Moreover, the wish of rulers to maintain multiple palaces fit with the custom of certain continental regimes that maintained summer palaces or other regional capitals where rulers could periodically reside on a temporary basis. (D)

  1.The phrase “ In essence” in the passage is closest in meaning to





  2.Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.

  A)The elaborate marriage customs of the elite encouraged spouses to remain at their family palace for several years after marriage.

  B)Rulers maintained multiple palaces for themselves and their spouses' families.

  C)Before the eighth century, it was common for the elite to form political alliances with their spouses' families at the native family headquarters for some years after marriage.

  D)Before the eighth century, the practice of forming alliances through marriage encouraged rulers to maintain palaces at their spouses' family homes as well as at their own.

  3.The word “feasible” in the passage is closest in meaning to





  (第3段)4.In paragraph 3, why does the author discuss the natural decay of the wooden structures built in eighth-century Japan

  A)To argue that the necessity of replacing buildings every two decades applied to all eighth-century structures, not just residences

  B)To argue that the custom of residential mobility was not unreasonable given the building practices of the eighth century

  C)To explain why the elite of the eighth century had to move periodically to new residences

  D)To explain why in the sixth and seventh centuries Japanese architectural practice changed to the construction of more permanent structures


  5.According to paragraph 3, each of the following was true of the practice of periodic replacement of buildings EXCEPT:

  A)It was followed for a wide variety of structures.

  B)It involved the reuse of building materials that were still good.

  C)Ordinary Japanese considered it a waste of time and energy.

  D)Over the years it became a religious ritual.

  6.The word “scale” in the passage is closest in meaning to





  (第4段)7.According to paragraph 4, what problem did traditional architectural practices create for rulers of the sixth and seventh centuries

  A)It was difficult to bring the necessary people and construction materials together to replace buildings periodically.

  B)It was very expensive to move and house the large number of people that were now associated with the government.

  C)It was impractical to construct buildings large enough to house the growing numbers of people and resources.

  D)It was too time-consuming for rulers to supervise the construction of all the necessary buildings.

  8.The word “advocated” in the passage is closest in meaning to





  (第6段)9.According to paragraph 6, Japanese rulers were strongly attracted to continental architecture because

  A)permanent buildings could be constructed at very low cost

  B)adopting the continental architecture would not have an effect on religious practices in Japan

  C)political power could be expressed by constructing grand buildings

  D)important buildings could be replaced quickly by means of the latest technology

  (第6段)10.What can be inferred from paragraph 6 about Japanese rulers during the seventh and eighth centuries

  A)They were well aware of, and strongly influenced by, developments in the royal courts of China.

  B)They strongly opposed the spread of the Buddhist religion.

  C)They saw the influence of continental regimes as a threat to local traditions.

  D)They sought to increase their mobility by adopting changes in architecture.

  11.The word “fostered” in the passage is closest in meaning to





  (第7段)12.Which of the following is true of the compromise system mentioned in paragraph 7

  A)Major government buildings combined the techniques of traditional and continental architecture.

  B)The continuing desire of rulers to maintain multiple palaces was taken into account.

  C)The balance of traditional and continental architecture was quickly achieved.

  D)Shinto shrines and most residences were constructed using continental architecture.

  13. Look at the four squares that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.

  Such temporary residences might have enabled Japanese rulers to better control the people living far from the main capital.

  Where would the sentence best fit

  14. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.

  A)Chinese architectural styles had influenced traditional Japanese architecture long before eighth-century Japanese rulers decided to create larger cities.

  B)Before the eighth century, the palaces of the elite were relatively simple structures that could be easily built, repaired, and replaced.

  C)As religious ideas changed, it no longer was acceptable to construct buildings out of materials that required constant replacement.

  D)Rulers' desire for grand palaces conflicted with the expense of having multiple courts, which they also wanted; but a compromise was achieved in the eighth century.

  E)Several factors complicated the architectural change, but a compromise system that considered both traditional and practical needs was eventually developed.

  F)Many areas in Japan were quick to adopt the changes in architectural styles, while other areas were more reluctant.


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