The HEIAN PALACE (平安宮, Heian-kyū) or DAIDAIRI (大内裏) was
the original imperial palace of
The palace consisted of a large rectangular walled enclosure , which contained several ceremonial and administrative buildings including the government ministries. Inside this enclosure was the separately walled residential compound of the emperor or the Inner Palace (Dairi). In addition to the emperor's living quarters, the Inner Palace contained the residences of the imperial consorts, as well as certain official and ceremonial buildings more closely linked to the person of the emperor.
The original role of the palace was to manifest the centralised
government model adopted by
From the mid-Heian period, the palace suffered several fires and other disasters. During reconstructions, emperors and some of the office functions resided outside the palace. This, along with the general loss of political power of the court, acted to further diminish the importance of the palace as the administrative centre. Finally in 1227 the palace burned down and was never rebuilt. The site was built over so that almost no trace of it remains. Knowledge of the palace is thus based on contemporary literary sources, surviving diagrams and paintings, and limited excavations conducted mainly since the late 1970s.
* 1 Location * 2 History * 3 Primary sources
* 4 Greater Palace (Daidairi)
* 4.1 Chōdō-in
* 4.1.1 Daigokuden
* 4.2 Buraku-in * 4.3 Other buildings
* 5 Inner Palace (Dairi)
* 5.1 Shishinden * 5.2 Jijūden * 5.3 Other buildings
* 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
The palace was located at the northern centre of the rectangular
Heian-kyō, following the Chinese model (specifically that of the Tang
dynasty capital of Chang\'an ) adopted already for the Heijō Palace
in the earlier capital
The palace was the first and most important structure to be erected
at the new capital of Heian-kyō, where the court moved in 794
The grand Chinese-style compounds of Chōdō-in and Buraku-in started to fall into disuse quite early on, in parallel with the decline of the elaborate Chinese-inspired ritsuryō government processes and bureaucracy, which were gradually either abandoned or reduced to empty forms. The centre of gravity of the palace complex moved to the Inner Palace or Dairi, and the Shishinden and later even the Seiryōden overtook the Daigokuden as loci for the conduct of official government business.
In parallel with the concentration of activity within the Dairi, the Greater Palace began to be regarded as increasingly unsafe, especially by night. One reason may be the prevalent superstition of the period: uninhabited buildings were avoided for fear of spirits and ghosts, and even the great Buraku-in compound was thought to be haunted. In addition, the level of actual security maintained at the palace went into decline, and by the early 11th century only one palace gate, the Yōmeimon in the east, appears to have been guarded. Hence burglary and even violent crime became a problem within the palace by the first half of 11th century.
Fires were a constant problem as the palace compound was constructed almost entirely of wood. The Daigokuden was reconstructed after fires in 876, 1068 and in 1156 despite its limited use. However, after the major fire of 1177 which destroyed much of the Greater Palace, the Daigokuden was never again rebuilt. The Burakuin was destroyed by a fire in 1063 and was never rebuilt.
As of 960, the Dairi was also repeatedly destroyed by fires, but it
was systematically rebuilt and used as the official imperial residence
until the late 12th century. During periods of rebuilding the Dairi
following fires, the emperors frequently had to stay at their
secondary sato-dairi (里内裏) palaces within the city. Often these
secondary palaces were provided by the powerful Fujiwara family, which
especially in the latter part of the
After a fire in 1177, the original palace complex was abandoned and
emperors resided in smaller palaces (the former sato-dairi) within the
city and villas outside it. In 1227 a fire finally destroyed what
remained of the Dairi, and the old Greater Palace went into complete
disuse. In 1334
Emperor Go-Daigo issued an edict to rebuild the
Greater Palace, but no resources were available to support this and
the project came to nothing. The present
Memorial stone at the site of the Daigokuden hall of the palace.
While the palace itself has been completely destroyed, a significant
amount of information regarding it has been obtained from contemporary
and almost contemporary sources. The
In addition to literary evidence, archaeological excavation conducted mainly since the late 1970s have revealed further information about the palace. In particular, the existence and location of buildings such as the Buraku-in compound has been verified against the contemporary documentary sources.
GREATER PALACE (DAIDAIRI)
The GREATER PALACE (大内裏, daidairi) was a walled rectangular area extending approximately 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) from north to south between the first and second major east-west avenues (Ichijō ōji (一条大路) and Nijō ōji (二条大路) and 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) from west to east between the Nishi Ōmiya ōji (西大宮大路) and Ōmiya ōji (大宮大路) north-south avenues. The three main structures within the Greater Palace were the Official Compound CHōDō-IN (朝堂院), the Reception Compound BURAKU-IN (豊楽院) and the INNER PALACE (内裏, dairi).
Schematic plan of the Greater Palace
Chōdō-in was a rectangular walled enclosure situated directly to the north of the Suzakumon gate in the centre of the southern wall of the Greater Palace. It was based on Chinese models and followed Chinese architectural styles, and archaeological evidence from earlier capitals shows that this building complex was present in earlier palaces and had a remarkably stable design from the 7th century onwards.
The main building within the Chōdō-in was the Daigokuden
(大極殿) or the Great Audience Hall, facing south at the northern
end of the compound. This was a large (approximately 52 m (170 ft)
east to west and 20 m (65 ft) north to south ) Chinese-style building
with white walls, vermilion pillars and green tiled roofs, intended to
host the most important state ceremonies and functions. The southern
part of the Chōdō-in was occupied by the Twelve Halls where the
bureaucracy was seated for ceremonies according to strict order of
Heian Jingū shrine in
It was in the Chōdō-in that Accession Audiences were held, the emperor was supposed to preside over early morning deliberations on major state affairs by the bureaucracy, receive monthly reports from officials, hold New Year Congratulations and receive foreign ambassadors. However, the practice of the morning deliberations ceased to be followed by 810 as did the monthly reports. Foreign ambassadors were no longer received for most of the Heian period, and the New Year celebrations were abbreviated and moved into the Dairi by the end of the 10th century, leaving the Accession Audiences and certain Buddhist ceremonials as the only ones held in the Chōdō-in.
The Buraku-in was another large rectangular Chinese-style compound, situated to the west of the Chōdō-in. It was built for official celebrations and banquets and used also for other types of entertainment such as archery contests. Like the Chōdō-in, also the Buraku-in had a hall at the central northern end of the enclosure overseeing the court. This hall, the Burakuden (豊楽殿), was used by the emperor and courtiers presiding over activities in the Buraku-in. However, like the Chōdō-in, the Buraku-in also fell gradually into disuse as many functions were moved to the Dairi. Its site is one of the few within the palace area that has been excavated.
Apart from the Inner Palace, the remaining area of the Greater Palace was occupied by ministries, lesser offices, workshops, storage buildings and the large open space of the Banqueting Pine Grove or En no Matsubara (宴の松原) to the east of the Dairi. The buildings of the Council of State or Daijōkan (太政官) were situated in a walled enclosure immediately to the east of the Chōdō-in, laid out in the typical symmetrical plan of buildings opening to a courtyard in the south. The palace also housed the Shingon-in (真言院), apart from Tō-ji and Sai-ji , the only Buddhist establishment permitted within the capital. Its placement right next to the Inner Palace shows the influence of the Shingon sect during the early Heian Period.
INNER PALACE (DAIRI)
Schematic plan of the Inner Palace
The Inner Palace or Dairi was located to the north-east of the
Chōdō-in, somewhat to the east of the central north-south axis of
the Greater Palace. Its central feature was the Throne Hall. The Dairi
encompassed the emperor's quarters and the pavilions of the imperial
consorts and ladies-in-waiting (collectively, the
The Dairi proper, the residential compound of the emperor, was enclosed within another set of walls to the east of Chūwain. It measured approximately 215 m (710 ft) north to south and 170 m (560 ft) east to west. The main gate was the Shōmeimon gate (承明門) at the centre of the southern wall of the Dairi enclosure, immediately to the north of the Kenreimon gate. In contrast to the solemn official Chinese-style architecture of the Chōdō-in and the Buraku-in, the Dairi was built in more intimate Japanese architectural style — if still on a grand scale. The Inner Palace represented a variant of the shinden style architecture used in the aristocratic villas and houses of the period. The buildings, with unpainted surfaces and gabled and shingled cypress bark roofs, were raised on elevated wooden platforms and connected to each other with covered and uncovered slightly elevated passages. Between the buildings and passages were gravel yards and small gardens.
The largest building of the Dairi was the Throne Hall or Shishinden
(紫宸殿), a building reserved for official functions . It was a
rectangular hall measuring approximately 30 m (98 ft) east to west and
25 m (82 ft) north to south, and situated along the median
north-south axis of the Dairi, overseeing a rectangular courtyard and
facing the Shōmeimon gate. A tachibana orange tree and a sakura
cherry tree stood symmetrically on both sides of the front staircase
of the building. The courtyard was flanked on both sides by smaller
halls connected to the Shishinden, creating the same configuration of
buildings (influenced by Chinese examples) that was found in the
aristocratic shinden style villas of the period. The Shishinden
of the present-day
The Shishinden was used for official functions and ceremonies that
were not held at the Daigokuden of the Chōdō-in complex. It took
over much of the intended use of the larger and more formal building
from an early date, as the daily business of government ceased to be
conducted in the presence of the emperor in the Daigokuden already at
the beginning of the ninth century. Connected to this diminishing
reliance on the official government procedures described in the
To the north of the Shishinden stood the Jijūden (仁寿殿), a similarly constructed hall of somewhat smaller size that was intended to function as the emperor's living quarters. However, beginning already in the ninth century, the emperors often chose to reside in other buildings of the Dairi. A third still smaller hall, the Shōkyōden (承香殿) was located next to the north along the main axis of the Dairi. After the Dairi was rebuilt following a fire in 960, the regular residence of the emperors moved to the smaller Seiryōden (清涼殿), an east-facing building located immediately to the north-west from Shishinden. Gradually the Seiryōden began to be used increasingly for meetings as well, with emperors spending much of their time in this part of the palace. The busiest part of the building was the Courtiers Hall (殿上間, Tenjōnoma), where high-ranking nobles came to meet in the presence of the emperor.
The empress, as well as the official and unofficial imperial consorts, was also housed in the Dairi, occupying buildings in the northern part of the enclosure. The most prestigious buildings, housing the empress and the official consorts, were the ones that had appropriate locations for such use according to the originally Chinese design principles (the Kokiden (弘徽殿), the Reikeiden (麗景殿) and the Jōneiden (常寧殿), as well as the ones closest to the imperial residence in Seiryōden (the Kōryōden (後涼殿) and the Fujitsubo (藤壷)). The lesser consorts and ladies-in-waiting occupied other buildings in the northern half of the Dairi.
One of the Imperial Regalia of
* ^ Hall (1974) p. 7 * ^ McCullough dimensions McCullough (1999) p. 103 * ^ Hall (1974) pp. 11–12 * ^ A B C McCullough and McCullough (1980) pp. 836–837 * ^ A B McCullough (1999) p. 40 * ^ Hall (1974) p. 13 * ^ Plan of the Inner Palace in McCullough and McCullough (1980) p. 840 * ^ A B McCullough (1999) pp. 115–116 * ^ McCullough and McCullough (1980) pp. 817–818 * ^ McCullough and McCullough (1980) pp. 845–847 * ^ McCullough and McCullough (1980) p. 848
* Farris, William Wayne (1998), Sacred Texts and Buried Treasures:
Issues on the Historical Archaeology of Ancient Japan, Honolulu, HW:
University of Hawai'i Press, ISBN 0-8248-2030-4
* Hall, John W. (1974), "
* Imaizumi Atsuo (今泉篤男); al. (1970), Kyōto no rekishi
(京都の歴史), 1, Tōkyō: Gakugei Shorin (学芸書林) . The
main Japanese reference work on the Palace according to McCullough
(1999). First volume of a ten-volume general history of Kyoto.
* Morris, Ivan (1994), The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life
in Ancient Japan, New York, NY: Kodansha, ISBN 1-56836-029-0 .
Originally published in 1964.
* Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon (1925), "The Capital and
Palace of Heian", Transactions and Proceedings of the
Media related to
* Japanese page with interactive map of the Palace * Page with detailed description of shinden style buildings
* v * t * e
Imperial Palaces and residencies in