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Nōga taikan, Sanemori


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Sanemori 實盛 (The Warrior Sanemori)

from the series Nōga taikan

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1925-1930

Nōga taikan, Yuya

IHL Cat. #1728

About This Print

One of 200 prints issued as part of the series Nōga taikan (Encyclopedia of Noh Plays) depicting a scene from the play Sanemori attributed to the playwright Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443).

This print is unusual in that it is in its original state after printing.  It has not been bound into book form, as were most of the prints from this series, nor trimmed in any fashion.  The title 實盛 and number of the print 七, which would normally have been trimmed off, appear in the right hand margin.

The Play - Sanemori

Sources: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 148-149 and http://www.noh-kyogen.com/story/english/Sanemori.pdf

Act 1:
Waki - the traveling priest Ta-ami Shōnin
Waki-tsure - two attendant priests
Kyōgen (interlude actor) - a local man
Shite - an old man

Act 2:
Nochi-shite - Saitō Bettō Sanemori

Sanemori was of the Genji Clan but sided with the losing Heike in 12th century Genji-Heikebattles, dying at Shinowara at the age of 72. To hide his age, he dyed his white hair black and alsoobtained the privilege of wearing brocade robe in battle. The ghost of Sanemori appears beforea traveling priest two centuries later, tells how he met his death, and asks to be saved. 

After a local person of Shinowara explains in a short prologue that the priest Ta-ami preaches there every day,  apparently to himself, the priest begins his sermon.  An old man, visible to Ta-ami but to no one else, then comes to listen as he has on every previous day.  When asked about himself, he reveals that he is the ghost of the warrior Sanemori who was killed in battle there more than two hundred years ago, and then he vanishes beside the pond in which his head was washed after his death.  When the priest prays there through the night for the repose of Sanemori's spirit, the ghost appears and tells the story of his last battle before which, being already an old man at the time, he died his white hair to hide his age.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1728
 Title Sanemori 實盛 (The Warrior Sanemori)
 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)
 Kōgyo 耕漁 (see image below)
Kōgyo seal, seal no. 13, p. 170 in The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010.
 Date 1925-1930
 Edition possibly first
 Publisher Seibi Shoten 精美書院 (or Seibi Shoin), Tokyo
 Carver Uchida Eikichi
 Printer Yoshida Takesaburō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excelent
 Genre ukiyo-e; nōgakuzue 能楽図絵
 Format ōban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 3/4 x 16 1/8 in. (27.3 x 41 cm)
 H x W Image 10 1/2 x 15 1/4 in. (26.7 x 38.7 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature