白縮緬地橘文字模様小袖 Robe (Kosode) with Mandarin Orange Tree and Auspicious Characters
Edo period (1615–1868)
second half of the 18th century
Dyed and embroidered silk crepe with couched gold-wrapped threads
50 x 65 in. (127 x 165.1 cm)
Purchase, Parnassus Foundation/Jane and Raphael Bernstein Gift, 2002
Not on view
An auspicious mandarin orange tree (tachibana) bearing fruit and flowers rises from the back hem of this narrow-sleeved robe (kosode). The sleeves and upper body of the robe are embellished with characters richly embroidered in green and purple silk and couched gold thread (laid across the ground fabric and stitched to the surface). The three characters (left to right) read manzai-raku, or “enjoying comfort for ten thousand years,” which also alludes to a type of ancient court music (gagaku) and dance presented exclusively at the court to celebrate the New Year. At the same time, the phrase calls to mind a song from the auspicious Noh play Takasago, which proclaims that performing Manzai-raku brings long life.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Written Image: Japanese Calligraphy and Paintings from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto Collection," October 1, 2002–March 2, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Drama of Eyes and Hands: Sharaku's Portraits of Kabuki Actors," September 20, 2007–March 24, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 20, 2015–January 22, 2017.