Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Noh Costume (Chōken) with Water Plants and Mulberry Leaves

Edo period (1615–1868)
18th century
Silk gauze (ro) brocaded with metallic thread
Overall: 47 1/8 x 80 1/4 in. (119.7 x 203.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1932
Accession Number:
Not on view
An outer robe worn primarily for dances by Noh actors in female roles, the chōken is often made of silk gauze delicately patterned in metallic thread. Here, as in many chōken, there are two different patterns. Scattered mulberry leaves decorate the bottom of the robe while at the top are larger designs of water plants: omodaka, with its arrowhead-shaped leaves, and suisen, a type of narcissus.

The conventionalized flowing water beneath the plants is sometimes called kanze mizu (literally, "Kanze water"), a pattern associated with the Kanze troupe of Noh actors. Kanze mizu later became the symbol for a particular Kabuki actor, Sawamura Sōjūrō III, who appears wearing clothing patterned with the motif in a woodblock print (JP2720) by Utagawa Toyokuni.
Louis V. Ledoux , New York (until 1932; sold to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Tribute to a Dedicated Collector: Mary Griggs Burke," June 30, 2004–November 29, 2004.

Related Objects

Robe (Kosode) with Cherry Blossoms and Cypress Fence

Date: second half of the 17th century Medium: Silk and metallic thread embroidery with resist dyeing on satin damask Accession: 1980.222 On view in:Not on view

Robe (Kosode) with Shells and Sea Grasses

Date: early 17th century Medium: Embroidery and gold leaf on plain-weave silk patterned with warp floats Accession: 1992.253 On view in:Not on view

Seven-Panel Buddhist Monk’s Vestment (Shichijō kesa) with Peony Arabesque

Date: 18th century Medium: Twill-weave silk with gold supplementary weft patterning (kinran) Accession: 19.93.23 On view in:Gallery 224

Seven-Panel Buddhist Monk’s Vestment (Shichijō kesa) with Double-Vined Peony Arabesque

Date: 17th century Medium: Twill-weave gold lampas silk (kinran) Accession: 19.93.17 On view in:Gallery 224

Travels through Mountains and Fields

Artist: Yosa Buson (Japanese, 1716–1783) Date: ca. 1765 Medium: Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on silk Accession: 2015.300.157.1, .2 On view in:Not on view