Noh costume (kariginu) with geometric pattern, Edo period (1615–1868), 19th century
Twill–weave silk with supplementary weft patterning; Overall 61 x 83 in. (154.9 x 210.8 cm)
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891 (91.1.62)
This robe's distinctive shokkô pattern of octagons and squares is traditionally linked to the title role of the sacred old man in the earliest work in the Noh repertoire, Okina, a series of dances that grew out of ancient shrine ceremonies. Often performed to open a Noh program at New Year's and other ceremonial occasions, Okina is both a ritual purification and a prayer for long life, peace, and prosperity.
The type of Noh costume called kariginu, with its broad sleeves and round overlapping neckband, is based on the informal garb of courtiers of the Heian period (794–1185). In Noh plays, this type of robe is generally worn belted over broad divided skirts for male roles of nature spirits, gods, and noblemen.