Nageshi (a horizontal piece of timber) (長押)
A nageshi is a pillar-connecting material used in Japanese-style buildings. The nageshi used in Japanese-style rooms is specifically called uchinori-nageshi. Its use factors into the features of Japanese-style buildings in shrines and temples and of shoin-zukuri (a traditional Japanese style of residential architecture that includes a tokonoma alcove) for houses.
It horizontally connects the upper parts or other parts of pillars and is hammered into place from outside of the pillars to reinforce the structure. In ancient shrine buildings, the material was thick and was required for structural purposes. However, it lost its structural function as material used in houses became thinner and is now exclusively a decorative material.
It is attached so as to cover kamoi (a generic term for a head jamb, which normally has tracks for sliding doors or partitions) or along walls across pillars.
It is used in temple buildings since the Nara period, such as Horyu-ji Temple. However, it constitutes a feature of Japanese style, because it is not used in Daubutsu-yo (Buddhist architecture style) and Zenshu-yo (Zen-sect-style architecture), both of which came from China in the Kamakura period.
It is used in shrine buildings as well.
In housing, it is also seen in shinden-zukuri style (typical architecture of a nobleman's residence during the Heian period) as depicted in the Genji monogatari emaki (the Illustrated Hand Scroll of the Tale of Genji) and shoin-zukuri always have nageshi. Since nageshi were not used in tea-ceremony rooms, Sukiya-zukuri style, influenced by the style of tea-ceremony houses do not have nageshi.
The height of a nageshi is sometimes determined by the horizontal size of the pillars and a nageshi whose height is 80% to 90% of the pillar size is called a hon-nageshi, and a nageshi whose height is 60% to 70% of the pillar size is called a han-nageshi.
Currently, it has become a horizontal board that is installed in a room to allow hangers and/or hooks to be hung easily but it was not originally intended for hanging items.