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Noh Costume (Karaori) with Court Carriages and Cherry Blossoms

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
first half of the 19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Brocaded twill-weave silk with supplementary-weft patterning in metallic thread
Dimensions:
Overall: 68 x 57 1/2 in. (172.7 x 146.1 cm)
Classification:
Costumes
Credit Line:
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Gift of Howard Mansfield, 1936
Accession Number:
36.120.689
  • Description

    This noh costume features an unusually large pictorial pattern of courtly carriages and cherry blossoms. During the Heian period (794–1185), the carts were the vehicles of the aristocracy and figured in many works of literature. Carriages themselves play an active role in chapter 9 of The Tale of Genji, which takes place at the time of the annual festival dedicated to the Kamo Shrine. In an episode called the “battle of the carriages,” the carts are used to jockey for an advantageous position from which to view Genji’s performance in the festivities. The aoi plant with its heart-shaped leaves is sacred to the Kamo Shrine, and the plants were used to decorate headdresses and carts at the time of the festival. Note the heart-shaped leaves that decorate all the carts on this noh costume.

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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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