Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Noh Costume (Karaori) with Cherry Blossoms and Fretwork

Edo period (1615–1868)
first half of the 18th century
Brocaded silk twill
Overall: 65 1/2 x 64 1/2 in. (166.4 x 163.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1919
Accession Number:
Not on view
An intense chromatic effect is achieved in this robe, with its cherry blossoms in a range of colors scattered over bands of red and green. Fallen within moments after their full flowering, the blossoms poignantly evoke the transience of human life, a central theme in Noh drama. The inclusion of red places this costume in the category of robes "with color" (iroiri), making it appropriate for the role of a young woman.

Among the formal and technical characteristics that point to an eighteenth-century date for the robe are the absence of metallic threads, the allover patterning, and the length and softness of the textile's floating silk pattern wefts.
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