Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Noh Costume (Karaori) with Court Carriages and Cherry Blossoms

Edo period (1615–1868)
first half of the 19th century
Twill-weave silk brocade with supplementary-weft patterning in metallic thread
Overall: 68 x 57 1/2 in. (172.7 x 146.1 cm)
Credit Line:
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Gift of Howard Mansfield, 1936
Accession Number:
Not on view
This Noh costume has unusually large pictorial motifs of courtly carriages, dandelions, and cherry blossoms. During the Heian period (794–1185), carriages were the vehicles of the aristocracy and figured in many works of literature, such as The Tale of Genji. In an episode in chapter nine, called the “Battle of the Carriages,” they are used to jockey for an advantageous position from which to view Genji’s performance at the annual festival dedicated to the Kamo Shrine. The carriages on this karaori are decorated following the festival tradition of adorning headdresses and carriages with heart-shaped leaves from the wild ginger plant (aoi), which is sacred to the Kamo Shrine.
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