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Kyōgen Gojūban, Iori no ume


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Iori no ume 庵の梅

(The Plum Blossom Hut)

from the series Kyōgen Gojūban

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1927

Mino no kikori from the series Selections from Japanese History

IHL Cat. #624

About This Print

One of sixteen prints designed by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927) for the series Kyōgen Gojūban (Fifty Kyogen Plays) before his death.  The series was completed by his daughter Tsukioka Gyokusei (1908-1994).  In this scene the shite, an aged nun, conducts a celebration during which she drinks sake and is then asked by her women visitors to dance for them. Poems that the women have brought can be seen hanging in the branches of the plum tree. 

For information on the series Kyōgen Gojūban, see the section Final Series of Prints (1927) - Kyōgen gojūban (Fifty Kyōgen Plays) under the artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927).

detail of silver mica highlights on fan
click on image to enlarge

The Play - Iori no ume

Source: A Guide to Kyogen, Don Kenny, Hinoki Shoten, 1968, p.105-106.
It is early spring and a group of young women come singing to the hermitage of an aged Nun to view the plum blossoms.  The hermitage is a hut made of live plum trees famous for their blossoms.

The Nun apologizes because the trees are the same age she is so that the blossoms are not as plentiful and beautiful as they used to be.

The Women offer the Nun sake.  They all begin drinking, singing and dancing together.  They finally convince the Nun to dance for them.  Before she dances, she instructs them all to take branches of the blossoms as souvenirs, but says they must pick them themselves, for her arms are too old and weak to reach that high.  The Women sing the accompaniment for the Nun's dance.

In the Ōkura script, the Nun is singing when the Women arrive and is embarrassed that they hear her.  She has been expecting them because they come every spring at plum blossom time, so she is happy to see them. They have brought poem cards which they present to the Nun to read, then each one hangs her own on the branches of the tree.  The party begins, and the rest of the play is the same as the [above] Izumi script."

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #624
 Title Iori no ume 庵の梅 (The Plum Blossom Hut)
 Series Kyōgen Gojūban 狂言五十番 (Fifty Kyogen Plays)
 Tsukioka Kôgyo (1869-1927)
 Kōgyo 耕漁
Kōgyo seal
 Date1925 or 1926
 Edition unknown
Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya)松木平吉 (大黒屋) and fan-shaped seal reading published by Daikokuya, Tokyo, Ryōgoku 東京両国 大黒屋 発行
[Marks: pub. ref. 029; seal not shown]

click on image to enlarge
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 x 15 in. (25.4 x 38.1 cm)
 Collections This Print Art Institute of Chicago 1943.832.9; University of Pittsburgh (as part of a bound volume of the entire series Kyōgen gojūban) 20101012-kogyo-0040
 Reference Literature 
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