'Tycoon's summer gardens, Yedo' [Tokyo, Japan] by James Henry Butt

'Tycoon's summer gardens, Yedo' [Tokyo, Japan]

James Henry Butt

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'Tycoon's summer gardens, Yedo' [Tokyo, Japan] by James Henry Butt zoom

'Tycoon's summer gardens, Yedo' [Tokyo, Japan]

'Tycoon' (great lord) was originally an alternative Japanese term for describing the shogun to foreigners. This suggests that Butt's view, though taken in winter, is of the summer gardens of the Nishinomaru Palace within the Castle of Edo (now Tokyo). This had been the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate - the Japanese military governing dynasty since the 17th century - while the emperor was maintained as a symbolic but powerless head of state at Kyoto. The 15th and last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, acceded in 1866 but resigned in late 1867 without ever residing at Edo, during the events which ended the shogunate and saw the restoration of the Meiji imperial dynasty. In May 1868, the Emperor left Kyoto and took up residence in the Castle of Edo, which became the Castle and Palace of Tokyo, the city's new name as imperial capital. An accidental fire destroyed the Nishinomaru residence in 1873. Butt therefore saw the palace site at a critical moment in its history, before much subsequent change, and possibly only because it was not officially occupied at the time.
Lt. James Henry Butt

Original size: 170 mm x 249 mm

  • Image reference: PT2064

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