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Nōgaku hyakuban, Okina

 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Okina 翁

(The Old Man)

Nos. 19/20/21 from the series Nōgaku hyakuban

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1923

IHL Cat. #836

About This Print

One of three triptychs issued as part of the series Nōgaku hyakuban (One Hundred Prints of Noh.)  This print depicts the Okina dance in the Noh play of the same name.  "In the center sheet we see Okina celebrating a dance and behind him the drum and flute players.  The left sheet and right sheet show the stage assistants and chorus members.  In front of the chorus members, there is the box in which the Okina mask is usually stored."1

This print was originally released by the publisher Matsuki Heikichi in the seventh installment of prints in this series.  This series' prints were offered in monthly installments consisting of three prints packaged in an envelope with additional descriptive information.2 

The series title, Nōgaku hyakuban 能楽百番, followed by the plays name, Okina 翁弍, followed by the three characters 三双圖 which stand for 'three-pair-picture' or triptych are written on the post in the left-most sheet.3

The Play - Okina

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p.132-133.
Okina is a piece quite distinct in character from any other Nō play.  Consisting of little more than a group of dances which are said to have been in existence in the tenth century, its history is certainly much older than that of any other Nō.  Throughout its history it has had a religious significance which still exists today.  With words and dances designed to win the help of the gods in obtaining peace and prosperity in the land and long life for its people, Okina is performed only at times of special celebration or commemoration.  When it is given, it is always performed first and the part of Okina is usually played the iemoto, the head of the school.  Before the players come on to the stage a ceremony of purification is performed in the dressing-room from which women are strictly excluded.  The performance consists of four main parts:
1. Sung part by Okina and chorus
2. Dance by Senzai
3. Dance by Okina
4. Dance by Sambasō - First part, unmasked; Second part, with mask and bells.

1 “The series Nogaku hyakuban (100 No plays) by Tsukioka Kogyo (1869-1927),” Claus-Peter Schulz, Andon 67, Society for Japanese Arts, p. 31.
2 op. cit., p. 30.
3 op. cit., p. 28.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #836
 Title Okina 翁 (The Old Man)
 Series Nōgaku hyakuban 能楽百番 (One Hundred Prints of Noh or One Hundred Noh Plays)
 Artist 
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
 Signature 
 Kōgyo
 Seal
tenka taihei (Peace in the World), seal no. 30, p. 171 in The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010.
 Date January 1923
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya)
 Carver 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - minor soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous 
 Format oban tate-e
 H x W Paper 14 7/8 x 10 1/8 in. (37.8 x 25.7 cm) each panel
 Collections This PrintScripps College 2007.1.1 a, b, c; Los Angeles County Museum of Art AC1997.254.27; Art Institute of Chicago 1943.833.1
 Reference Literature The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 91;  “The series Nogaku hyakuban (100 No plays) by Tsukioka Kogyo (1869-1927),” Claus-Peter Schulz, Andon 67, Society for Japanese Arts, p. 30.

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