Friday, 1 July 2016

Kyoto Research Trip - City Archives and Heiankyō Sōseikan

After the last couple of days, my body needed a break, so I took it easy this morning - slept in, did my laundry, and then made my way back to the City Archives, with a pencil this time.  Things to know ahead of time if you ever need to use the City Archives (京都市歴史資料館):

  1. Have a 100 yen coin handy for the lockers.  You get it back, but you need it to lock your bags up.
  2. No photos, 10 yen per copy.  The copy machine is pretty small (read: normal size copy machine) though, so I'm not sure how you'd get a copy of larger documents.  You can get a receipt for copies.
  3. They don't deal much with 20th century apparently?  I asked about the city's records for construction related to the Kamo River, and the archivist said that the 20th century was outside of the archive's scope.
My conversation with the archivist then lead me to the City Library and Heiankyō Sōseikan.  Kyoto City, you're doing your public museums right!

It's a pretty small museum, just two exhibit rooms and a video corner, but it's really neat.  It focuses on the layout and archaeology of Heian.  The cool part is that it's not only free, it's also attached directly to the City Library and has stuff for all ages.  There were mostly older people sitting and watching the videos, younger adults to middle aged walking around, and the little kids played in the Taiken Corner with their parents.

Is this not awesome?  Aristocratic children's clothes display here:

Try them on here!

The little ones who were there while I was were too little for this section, but they also had a play area.  They could match shells with pictures on them or play sugoroku (or just pick up the chips).  

They also had a huge floor map and a 1:1000 scale diorama of a reconstruction of the city.  This is what the archivist sent me for.  Apparently scholars, including him, have been working on mapping as closely as possible since after the war.  I knew someone had to have been doing it here.  I'm geeked to have found it.  They also sell published materials and maps at the museum office.

What's cool about this particular diorama is that it's not just a portion of the city.  Nor is it limited to the city's official boundaries.  It's definitely idealized considering the city was probably never fully settled like this, but most of the important places are there, including the places in the mountains.

Also really cool is the full sized replica of the Uesugi Rakuchū Rakugai screens along the back wall.  It's rare to be able to get up that close, even to reproductions.  Usually they're at least up on a platform and set back.  These were just the wall.

Also, because it's Kyoto and everybody loves Kamo no Chōmei, here's his 10 foot square hut, complete with his two icons:

This was actually the only random display there, and the only one you'd have to really read (or already know) to understand.  Everything else was really well set out with contemporary images, archaeological finds, and replicas, like this food:

Also, I'd encountered the Ritsumeikan Virtual Kyoto Project in the course of working on my own maps, and I got to look at their display in action.  It's set up in the same room as the floor map and diorama.

It was a bit buggy, so less exciting than I wanted it to be, but still cool to see how the project is being used and the fact that it's available to the public.

This evening I took myself out for a picnic at the park where the Kamo and Takano Rivers meet.  It was lovely.  I mostly watched the birds and listened to the water.

These guys were cute.

But, surprise!  One of these bastards stole my dinner!

Took it right out of my hand!  I didn't see or hear it coming.  I was eating a peanut butter chocolate chip Larabar.  I'd taken a bite and was just sort of holding it and sitting there, and then swoosh.  All I saw was a blur and felt like I caught a ball or something.   The kite snatched the bar, wrapper and all, and flew off.  I don't think he liked it though, because they let me eat my second bar in peace.  It made me laugh though. 

Here's a fun colored pigeon to end with.

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