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Nōgakuzue, Utō

 

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Utō 善知鳥

(Birds of Sorrow)

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1897

IHL Cat. #495

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh).  The print depicts a scene from Utô (Birds of Sorrow), by an unknown playwright (but sometimes attributed to Zeami.)

The Play - Utō

Source: The Ohtsuki Noh Theatre Foundation website http://www.noh-kyogen.com/story/english/Uto.pdf
A species of seabird known as utô (petrel) is said to find its young by crying out “utō” to which they reply “yasukata”. Hunters imitate this cry to catch the young. The parent birds seeing their young taken are said to weep tears of blood. A traveling priest meets the spirit of a hunter who asks him to contact his wife and child and make an offering of a hat and cloak which he used to wear. When the priest does so, the spirit appears and, now bitterly regretting having killed against Buddhist precepts, tells of his desperate misery in Hell.

Scenes from 1972 production

 
 
Copyright 1998-2008, Global Performing Arts Consortium. All Rights Reserved.

Print Detail Images

 

cartouche - note embossing and silver metallic highlights
click on image to enlarge

 
margin explanation
click on image to enlarge

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #495
 Title  Utō 善知鳥 (Birds of Sorrow)
 Series  Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Artist 
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
 Signature 
 Kōgyo 耕 漁
 Seal
White and red letter seals in a pair: 耕・漁 [Kō・gyo]
Kōgyo, seal no. 65, 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 Originally issued in 1897, this collection's print was issued in 1904 (Meiji 37), as shown by the inscription on the print's left margin pictured on the left.  (Click on the image to enlarge.)
The date of printing reads 明治三十七年十月十日印刷
 (37th year, 10th month, 10th day) and the date of issue reads 仝年仝月十五日発行 ("same" year, "same" month, 15th day.)

The print in the Ristumeikan Art Research Center collection (arcUP8064) shows a printing date of 1900 (Meiji 33), November, 1st day [明治三十三年十一月一日印刷] and an issuance day of 1900, November, 5th day [仝年仝月五日発行].

The Art Institute Chicago gives a date of 1898 for their copy  (1939.2258.27) of the print.

The University of Pittsburgh, Special Collections, gives a date of 1897 for their copy (20091209-kogyo-0180) of the print which is bound into an album they refer to as "Nōgakuzue Vol. 1 No. 1."
 Edition
 a later edition issued in 1904. At least 4 different printings exist, as detailed in "Date" above, with earliest date of issuance 1897, based on the print in University of Pittsburgh, Special Collections.(see above)
 Publisher  Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 Carver  
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  fair - soiling throughout; 1/8" horizontal discoloration running top to bottom of print; thinning and small hole left side of cartouche; not trimmed; not backed, minor soiling, light toning
 Genre  ukiyo-e; nōgakuzue 能楽図絵
 Miscellaneous  silver metallic highlights within cartouche
 Format  oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper  9 7/8 x 14 1/2 in. (25.1 x 36.1 cm)
 H x W Image
 9 x 13 1/4 in. (22.9 x 33,7 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This Print  Art Institute of Chicago 1939.2258.27; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University arcUP0864; University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0180
 Reference Literature  
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