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Nōgakuzue, Yoshino Tennin


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Yoshino Tennin 吉野天人

(The Goddess at Yoshino)

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1904

Nōgakuzue, Kurama Tengu

IHL Cat. #1143

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh).  The print depicts a goddess performing a dance in praise of the cherry blossoms (Gosechi).  (See story below.)

For another depiction of this play by the artist see Nōgaku hyakuban, Yoshino Tennin.

The Play - Yoshino Tennin (The Goddess at Yoshino) by Kanze Nobumitsu

Source: from a web blog titled Koredō – 是道 http://oroshi.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/the-tanka-of-eishin-ryu-1-yokogumo-2/
A two act play in which a man from the city (Kyoto) travels to Mt. Yoshino to see the cherry blossoms. There he encounters a beautiful woman who later appears in her true form as a celestial being (Tennin), who dances in praise of the cherry blossoms. 

In final part of the play, as the character disappears upon a cloud of cherry blossom (as pictured in this print), the chorus recites the following lines: 

Miyoshino, with mist trailing low overhead;
The mountains of Yoshino are coloured with cherry blossom
Ride upon a cloud of petals
Ride upon a cloud of petals
Without knowing the destination.

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 219.


By Kojirō [A miss-attribution. More contemporary sources attribute the play to Kanze Nobumitsu (1450?-1516)]

Third Group
Performed by all schools

Act 1:
Waki - a man from the capital
Waki-tsure - two companions
Shite - a woman
Kyōgen - a local person

Act 2:
Nochi-shite - a goddess

Some people on their way to view the cherry blossom at Yoshino meet a beautiful woman who joins them to enjoy the flowers.  Before leaving she tells them that she is a goddess and that she will return later and perform an ancient dance for them.  This she does, and after praising the beauties of spring, disappears on a cloud of blossoms.

Right Margin Description of Scene
click on image to enlarge

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1143
 Title Yoshino Tennin 吉野天人 (The Goddess at Yoshino)
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo-e 耕漁 繪
White letter seal in a double ring shape with double border: 湖・畔 [Ko・han]
Toshihisa no in (seal of Toshimisa), seal no. 97, p. 172 in 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 January 28,1904 as shown in the print's left margin, as follows: 
Date of Printing: January 20, 1904 (Meiji 37)
Date of Issuance: January 28, 1904

The ARC database entry for their print arcUP0869 carries different dates from this collection's print, as follows: 
Printed on January 20, 1898; Issued on January 25, 1898
 Edition unknown 
 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.  
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - album backing; full size, light soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous gold and silver mica highlights in earth spider's robe
 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
 8 7/8 x 13 1/8 in. (22.5 x 33.3 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This PrintArt Institute of Chicago 1939.2258.28; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo.arcUP0869 CoGNo.arcUP0840 AlGNo.arcUP0840; University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0189; Scripps College Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery 2008.1.79 
 Reference Literature