白地檜扇夕顔模様唐織 Noh Costume (Karaori) with Pattern of Cypress Fans and Yūgao Blossoms
Edo period (1615–1868)
18th–early 19th century
Twill-weave silk with brocading in silk and supplementary-weft patterning in silk and metallic thread
Overall: 67 x 56 in. (170.2 x 142.2 cm)
Gift of Dorothy F. Rolph, in memory of her sister, Helen L. Beloussoff, 1961
Not on view
This pattern of open cypress fans and blossoms from a yūgao gourd vine unmistakably evokes an episode from chapter 4 of The Tale of Genji—Prince Genji’s tragic affair with a mysterious young woman who responds to his poem by presenting a spray of yūgao blossoms on a fan and later dies at the hands of the jealous spirit of Genji’s neglected lover Lady Rokujō. The episode inspired a noh play called Yūgao, attributed to Zeami (ca. 1364–ca. 1443). In the play, the young woman appears as a ghost who achieves peace and enlightenment through the power of the Lotus Sutra.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Noh Robes," 1993.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," 1995.
Ithaca. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. "The Tale of Genji: Splendor and Innovation in Edo Culture," March 29, 1997–June 15, 1997.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Storytelling in Japanese Art," November 19, 2011–May 6, 2012.