Kyōgen Costume: Jacket (Suō) with Design of Lotuses
Edo period (1615–1868)
early 19th century
Resist-dyed and painted plain-weave bast fiber (asa)
Overall: 35 1/4 x 88 in. (89.5 x 223.5 cm)
Purchase, Mrs. Roger G. Gerry Gift, 1997
Not on view
This jacket (suō), with its field of graphically rendered lotuses, would be worn with matching long trousers in kyōgen plays for the role of a samurai lord.
Kyōgen is a comic form of Japanese theater, performed along with the more serious noh drama. Historically, kyōgen players had two functions. First, between acts of noh, they explicated in the vernacular the play’s poetic language. Second, during a conventional full-day program of noh theater, they performed in plays that were interspersed for comic relief. Costumes for kyōgen are noted for their bold resist-dyed patterns on linenlike asa, as opposed to noh costumes’ more elegant woven or embroidered silk.