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Nōga taikan, Kōtei


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kōtei 皇帝

(The Emperor)

from the series Nōga taikan

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1926

IHL Cat. #726

About This Print

Number 21* of 200 prints issued as part of the series Nōga taikan (Encyclopedia of Noh Plays) depicting a scene from the play Kōtei by the playwright Kojirō Nobumitsu 小次郎信光 (?1435 or 1450-1516.)  This print still maintains its semi-transparent cover sheet providing information on the play and its characters.

cover sheet
click on image to see detail

* number appears in the lower right hand of the cover sheet.

The Play - Kōtei

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 86-87.
Act 1: kyōgen - a Court official; ko-kata - Yō-kihi; waki - the Emperor Gen-sō; waki-tsure - a minister; shite - an old man
Act 2: nochi-tsure - a devil; nochi-shite - the spirit of Shō-ki

While the Emperor Gen-sō (Hsuan Tsung) of T'ang is keeping an anxious vigil over the sick-bed of his favourite, Yō-kihi (Yang Kuei-fei), an old man comes to the palace and tells the Emperor that he is the ghost of Shō-ki (Chung K'uei), a former retainer who committed suicide when he failed in an examination.  The Emperor, however, graciously appointed him posthumously to Court rank and gave him a fine burial; in return he has now come to drive the sickness away from Yō-hiki.  He askes that a certain sacred mirror be placed at the head of her bed, and then disappears.  When this is done, the devil who is afflicting Yō-hiki is seen in the mirror, but when the Emperor draws his sword to strike it down, it vanishes.  The spirit of Shō-ki returns and succeeds in vanquishing the devil.  Having this repaid his debt, Shō-ki promises the Emperor that he will become a protective deity and then disappears again like a figure in a dream.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #726
 Title Kōtei 皇帝 (The Emperor)
 Series Nōga taikan 能画大鑑 (Encyclopedia of Noh Plays or A Great Mirror of Noh Pictures or A Great Collection of Noh Pictures)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
 no seal
 Date July 5, 1926
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Seibi Shoten (or Seibi Shoin), Tokyo
 Carver Uchida Eikichi
 Printer Yoshida Takesaburō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent; one pin hole upper left of image; binding holes right side
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 x 14 3/4 in. (25.4 x 37.5 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature