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Nōgakuzue, Yamamba

 

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Yamamba 山姥

(The Old Woman of the Mountain)

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1898

Nōgakuzue, Kurama Tengu


IHL Cat. #1137

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh).  The print depicts a scene from the play Yamamba by the playwright Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443) in which the true Yamamba dances, holding a fan.

The Play - Yamamba 山姥

SourceThe Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 123.

A dancer from the capital (tsure), famous for her performances, goes by the name of Hyakuma Yamamba because of a song she created about this mysterious woman of the mountain.  While on a pilgrimage to Zenkō Temple (Zenkōji) with three fellow travelers (wakizure), she arrives at the sacred mountain of Haguro in Echigo.  They ask a local person for the best route to the temple.  He tells them that there are three: one upper, one lower, and a third over the mountain itself.  They choose the third.  On their way they meet an older woman (shite), who offers them shelter.  She tells them that she is the real Yamamba, and Hyakuma asks to show her dance.  As she does so, the woman says she will return when the moon is shining to demonstrate how the actual dance should be performed. Suddenly, the sky grows dark in the middle of the day.  Yamamba appears in ther true form and dances, unveiling the secrets of the mountain. She then disappears into the valley.

Right Margin Description of Scene
click on image for detail
Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1136
 Title Yamamba 山姥 (The Old Woman of the Mountain)
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Artist 
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
 Signature 
Kōgyo 耕漁

red letter seal with irregular border: 辯 [Ben]
Seal not shown in the "Seals and Signature" appendix of The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010.
 DateThis collection's print was issued August 20, 1898  as shown in the print's left margin, as follows: 
Date of Printing: August 5, 1898 (Meiji 31)
明治三十
日印刷 
Date of Issuance: August 20, 1898
明治三十発行 

The ARC database entry for their print arcUP0939 carries different dates from this collection's print, as follows: 
明治三十四年十月一日印刷仝年仝月十日発行 
Printed on October 1, 1897; Issued on October 10, 1897.
 Edition unknown 
 Publisher
 Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 日本橋区吉川町二番地 松木平吉 (in left margin) followed by Daikokuya seal,  as shown on left.  
 Carver 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - album backing; full size, light soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 9 13/16 x 14 7/16 in. (24.9 x 36.7 cm)
 H x W Image
 9 x 13 1/16 in. (22.9 x 33.2 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This PrintArt Institute Chicago 1939.2258.96; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo. arcUP0939 CoGNo. arcUP0840 AlGNo. arcUP0840; University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0267
 Reference Literature The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, fig. 71a, p.123.

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