The Architecture of Buddhist Kingship in Medieval Kyoto
Kyoto’s urban landscape was completely reimagined in the late fourteenth century through the ambitious building projects of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408). This lecture examines these projects with the aim of identifying the guiding principles that inspired the warrior-aristocrat’s monumental aspirations. Recent discoveries about the locations, compositions, and functions of the two great temple-palace complexes of Muromachi and Kitayama reveal an unmistakable subscription to domesticated symbols of Buddhist kingship. The findings make possible an expanded view of political possibility in medieval Japan and inspire compelling comparisons with the Buddhist kingdoms of Southeast Asia.