CRCAO member - Japan Team

Céline Pisseloup

École Pratique des Hautes Études

Thesis : Mesurement, dimension and construction guidance in palatial architecture in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries - learning from the carpentry book Shômei
Directed by Nicolas Fiévé


I started my PhD on October 2019 under the guidance of Professor Nicolas Fiévé at the EPHE University, Paris, France. I began this research project after long preparatory studies, first in architecture at the National School of Architecture of Paris la Villette, then in Japanese civilization and language, both modern and classical, at INALCO University (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations). After those, I completed a Masters’ course in Japanese studies at EPHE University, also under the supervision of Professor Nicolas Fiévé.

In my thesis, I explore the question of the conception of architectural space in elite’s dwellings in medieval Japan. This work consist in analysing and translating the Shōmei “Light of the carpentry”, the first known treaty of carpentry, written in 1608 by Heinouchi Masanobu 平内政信 (1583-1645), official carpenter master of the Edo shogunate. The Shōmei manual comprise five scrolls covering five types of buildings: doors, sanctuary, temples, pagodas and residences. This carpenter’s manual¸ giving guidance and measurement for the wooden buildings, is a unique document that allows to understand the art of carpentry in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Research thematics

  • Medieval Japanese architecture
  • Measurements and dimensions in architecture