胴箔地薄菊紅葉蝶模様縫箔 Noh Robe (Nuihaku) with Design of Butterflies, Chrysanthemums, Maple Leaves, and Miscanthus Grass
Edo period (1615–1868)
second half of the 18th century
Silk embroidery and gold leaf on silk satin
Overall: 63 3/4 x 54 in. (161.9 x 137.2 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1932
Not on view
The butterfly motif came into its own in China during the Tang dynasty (618-906), and several examples of decorative arts of the Tang bearing this pattern were preserved in the eighth-century Shôsôin imperial repository in Nara, Japan. Chinese secular poetry and writings on Buddhism also featured the butterfly, and Japanese admiration for these texts helped bring the motif to the fore in the literary and visual arts of Japan, where its popularity has lasted for centuries. This robe is decorated only at the shoulders (kata) and hem (suso), where the embroidered autumn design is on a glowing background of gold leaf.