(Image source unknown / Corresponding newsletter)
Samurai warriors meet Leonardi di Caprio in imagery that displays opulence and asserts efforts to retain unstable power.
1. VIP room: To make a long story short, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu dubiously usurped power (and eventually gave rise to a shogunal government lasting 2 centuries). Unsurprisingly, he had a pretty Draconian and paranoid way of ruling. The architecture and imagery of Nijo Castle reinforces his social control. His main audience hall (Great Hall) has different levels - he's raised up on a higher platform to show his higher status. Everyone else is on a lower platform, with people in his inner circle closest to him and betrayers relegated to the back. (Note: That isn't exactly Tokugawa in the image above, he lived from 1543 to 1616.)
2. Staying power: The shimmering gold walls and intricate lacquered ceiling shows Tokugawa's wealth. The pines show longevity - this is a clear message to any haters that Tokugawa's regime was here to stay.
3. Inception: The walls of Saito's quarters at the beginning scenes of the movie Inception bear a striking resemblance to these paintings (see for yourself below!). If you've seen the movie, I'll let you read into this : )
All images, videos, and articles are linked to their respective sources. Elements of this post were also drawn from the following:
- Image: Top image from Art History class at Stanford. I'm not sure of the exact book or source it is from, but if you let me know where it's from, I'd definitely like to cite it!
- Class: Stanford's Art History 186
- Online: Tokugawa Ieyasu
- Online: Nijo Castle
- Image: "Inception" - IMDB
- Online PDF: Nijo Castle Paintings