Noh Robe (Karaori)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 199

Once Noh theater was embraced by the military elite, costumes turned more elaborate. Karaori (literally, “Chinese weave”) in exquisite patterns became one of the standard outer robes for female roles. The design here features autumn grasses and blossoms—chrysanthemum branches, bush clovers, and balloon flowers—in vivid hues and gold against a rich backdrop composed of auspicious interlocking circles (shippō-tsunagi) woven with gold thread on red ground. The red color (iro-iri) indicates that the costume was made for the role of a beautiful young woman.

Noh Robe (Karaori), Twill-weave silk with supplementary weft patterning in silk and gold-leaf paper strips (karaori), Japan

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