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Nōga taikan, Orochi


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Orochi 大蛇

from the series Nōga taikan

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1925-1930

IHL Cat. #441

About This Print

One of 200 prints issued as part of the series ga taikan (Encyclopedia of Noh Plays) depicting a scene from the play Orochi by the playwright Kanze Nobumitsu (1450-1516).

The Play - Orochi

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 136.

This is a version of the widespread legend of the princess who is saved from a dragon, and is based on accounts found in Japanese works of the eighth century.  When Susano-o descends from Heaven to Izumo in the legendary Age of the Gods, he finds an old couple weeping over their daughter.  They tell him that every year a dragon living in the nearby river takes one of their daughters and that this year their last child is due to be given up to him.  On being promised the princess if he succeeds in saving her, Susano-o prepares eight boats laden with sake.  After the interlude, he and the princess are shown arriving in the upper reaches of the river.  The dragon appears, angry and powerful, but becoming drunk on the wine that has been brought, is killed by Susano-o.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #441
 Title Orochi 大蛇
 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 seal
 Date 1925-1930
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Seibi Shoten (or Seibi Shoin), Tokyo
 Carver Uchida Eikichi
 Printer Yoshida Takesaburō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - binding holes right side from previous inclusion in album, bend upper left corner, several foxing spots; not trimmed
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 x 14 3/4 in. (25.4 x 37.5 cm)
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 Reference Literature