Noh costume (nuihaku) with books and nandina branches, Edo period (1615–1868), second half of 18th century
Silk embroidery and metallic leaf on silk satin; Overall 65 3/4 x 56 3/4 in. (167 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Paul T. Nomura, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. S. Morris Nomura, 1989 (1989.367)
Books decorated with seasonal motifs and auspicious patterns scattered over tall nandina shrubs are intricately embroidered on a silk ground embellished by gold leaf to create a profusion of color, texture, and pattern. A nuihaku is a Noh costume decorated with embroidery and metallic leaf and is usually worn for the role of a woman. With its brilliant gold-leaf ground (dôhaku), this robe is an example of the most spectacular type of nuihaku, also termed dôhaku.
This sumptuous costume is depicted in color in the Ken'eirô gasô, a multivolume album of full-color paintings of fans, masks, props, and traditional costumes that was probably compiled by the Tayasu house, an offshoot of the shogunal Tokugawa family. The album's painted illustrations of the nuihaku, front and back, are inscribed with a date corresponding to 1838. The costume is said to have been used by the Hôshô troupe, which was patronized by the shogunate during the Edo period.