SHINDEN ROOTS
The main predecessor of the shoin style is the shinden, a mode of building favored by the upper class in the Heian period (794-1185), the classical period of Japanís cultural history when native styles of expression in calligraphy, poetry, and painting were also developed and the warrior class rose.  The essential elements of the basic shinden plan is best understood by early representations found in narrative picture scrolls (emakimono) and descriptions in old diaries.  A particularly notable account of the ideal shinden residence can be found in the Kaoku zakko, a treatise on architecture by Sawada Natari (1775-1845). In this illustration (seen at top) the central hall is flanked to the east and west by outlying structures called tai-no-ya.  Roofed corridors known as ro connected the one story buildings which were raised about a foot above ground.  Two small pavilionlike structures are also included, the one to the east izumo-dono ("fountain pavilion") and that to the west the tsuri-dono ("fishing pavilion").  Since the ro passageways leading to the gazebos are halved by chumon ("middle gates") they are also called chumon-ro.  The complex faces south and the courtyard includes a pond and formal garden.  Chinese influence on the formation of Japanese concepts is evident in the symmetry, southern orientation, and building-garden relationship.  Interiors were sparsely furnished and easily rearranged making privacy virtually unobtainable.  It contained partitions, sliding doors, and shutters that could be readily removed to make smaller rooms into larger ones and to open the whole interior of a building to the out-of-doors.  The rooms of the shinden mansions had bare wooden floors, with portable straw mats laid out individually where needed, and most had no built-in fixtures.  In the early stages of shinden design, the roomy main hall was used for many different puposes. As time progressed, however, informality and privacy and more differentiation from areas of public and formal use were desired.  Asymmetry developed in response to changes in function and structure of the interior space.  The central space (moya) under the main roof of the shinden hall came to be used mainly for ceremonial functions, with the secondary spaces (hisashi) surrounding the moya used for daily living.   Gradually, the division between public and private spaces became more distinct necessitated more definite interior partitioning. These new architectural elements were related to changes in patterns of daily living appearing with the rise of the new warrior class.
 
 
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