Nijo Castle documents added to Rare Materials Digital Archive (27 February 2018)

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On 27 February, Kyoto University Library published 249 documents and illustrations related to Nijo Castle in its publicly accessible Rare Materials Digital Archive. These items originally belonged to the Nakai family, who served as master carpenters for the Tokugawa Shogunate. Researchers from the Graduate School of Letters and the Kyoto University Museum, in cooperation with Kyoto City’s Nijo Castle Office, studied and created metadata for these materials, while the Library digitized them. The project was undertaken in accordance with the agreement signed between the Library and the Castle Office in 2017.

The newly published materials are related to a large-scale renovation of the Castle, started in 1624 to prepare for Emperor Misunoo’s visit in 1626. The collection includes notes describing the changes made to the building as part of the renovation, written on the slips of paper attached to the drawings, providing further insights into the history of the Castle and the city.

Aged and fragile documents require restricted access for preservation. Larger materials in particular need to be handled with care in significant spaces to avoid contact with other objects. The Digital Archive, however, allows anyone to freely examine historical materials, with options to zoom in and out on any part of the item on display.

In addition to the documents and maps published in the Archive, the Nakai collection includes architectural drawings of Kyoto Imperial Palace, as well as of local temples, shrines, and other buildings, along with items related to the Nakai family. Kyoto University Library intends to digitize and publish all of these rare and valuable materials in the coming months.

Ground plan of Nijo Caste (property of Kyoto University Library)

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