Chodai (a room or a place to sleep especially built for nobilities) (帳台)

Chodai is a tent-shaped screen with about 242 square centimeters which was built as a nobility's living room or bedroom. It was also called michodai or micho.

Its overall height is about 215 cm because three pillars about 203 cm in height are set on a foundation called 'tsuchii' laid on each of the four corners. A bar called 'kamoi' is laid over the pillars, and akari-shoji (a translucent screen or sliding door made by pasting single sheets of white Japanese paper) with a lacquered frame is put on the top of it. Drapes about 150 cm in size are hung down from the four corners, and other drapes about 190 cm in size are separately hung down in the middle of each of the four faces.

Knowledge of chodai

After the chodai is built up, about 90 cm-high kicho (a curtained frame put up to screen royal personages or noble ladies from direct view of those around them) is stood up as a screen on each face of east, west and south and on hamayuka (a low podium). The drapes of the faces on which the kicho is set up are rolled up for about 90 cm and held by tying strings from inside and outside just like kabeshiro (hangings used as a blind in a nobleman's residence). The other drapes on the north face and the four corners are left hanging down.
(Sleepers must lie with their head southward.)

Only in the case of a bedroom for the empress, a black-lacquered podium called 'hamayuka,' whose size is 30 cm high and 273 cm square, is set up on the floor. In the case the bedroom for others, two jo (176x176 cm) of tsuchishiki, which is a type of tatami mat with ungenberi-rim, is laid on the boarding floor in a meridional direction.

On the surface of that, uwamushiro (a matting laid on the tatami mats in chodai) is spread out. Furthermore, 'ryobin no jishiki', which is a blue-trimmed mat woven with soft rush dyed in various colors, and 'shitone,' which is wedded zabuton (traditional Japanese cushions used to sit on the floor) with interlining made of tatami, makuragicho (a small kicho screen set by the bedside), chinnomakura (a pillow made with eagle-wood) and bedclothes are placed thereupon.

Hijikane (an "L" hook) is hammered into the point about 30 cm below the top of each of the two pillars on the closer side as one faces the chodai. A silver net called 'mitsuno' and gofu (talisman) in the shape of rhinoceros made out of mulberry trees with waved patterns carved on it, which is used as protection against floods, are hung from the hooks.

In the same way, other hooks are driven into the same points of both pillars on the opposite side, and octagonal mirrors charmed to avert evil are hung from them.

For chodai for the emperor and the empress, a weight of Shishi lion (yellow-colored and with opened maw) is placed on the front end of left side drape. Another weight of komainu (white-colored, with closed maw and with a horn on the forehead) is placed on the front end of the right side drape.

The both are gilt bronze-made and those shapes are said to be associated with a tale of Hosuseri no mikoto (a Japanese ancient god who was born in flame) that appears in Jindaiki (Records of period of gods). It is also said that the komainu stands for Kirin, and using a golden kirin and a golden shishi lion as ornamental weights is following a precedent of the Empress Sokuten in Tang (China). However, there is no solid foundation for these perceptions.

According to 'Matsu no ochiba' (a book on Shinto) written by Takanao FUJII, in the section of investiture of the Empress in 'Gokeshidai' (the Ritual Protocol of the Oe House), it is described that 'Two Shishi-shaped guardian dogs shall be placed on the left and right sides in front of the south face of the chodai.'
Furthermore, in the volume of Nunobiki no taki (Nunobiki falls) in 'Eiga monogatari' (A Tale of Flowering Fortunes), shishimai (lion dance) is referred to as 'Shishi komainu.'
These represent that the komainu was regarded as a sort of shishi lion and they were not divided into two kinds.
In addition, in the annotation of 'Yusenkutsu' (a Chinese novel by Chosaku in the Tang-Dynasty period), there is a description, 'To place stone-carved shishi lion in a bedroom is effective to avert monsters, goblins, and ghosts as well as to press the carpet.'
It is also said that this indicates that the shishi-shaped guardian dogs used this way played a role not only as ordinary shishi lion but also as a charm to avert monsters, goblins, and ghosts.

In case tachi (a sword) is placed at the bedside, the tsuka (hilt) must be put on the west side, and the blade must be put on the south side.

The details of the hamayuka and other information, such as its dimensions, are described in the fourth volume of 'ruijuzoyosho' (a book explaining the furnishings in ceremonies and events in detail with sketches).

[Original Japanese]