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Nōga taikan, Kocho


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kochō 胡蝶

(The Butterfly)

from the series Nōga taikan

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1925-1930

IHL Cat. #793

About This Print

Number 48* out of 200 prints issued as part of the series Nōga taikan (Encyclopedia of Noh Plays) depicting a scene from the play Kochō by the playwright Kanze Nobumitsu (mid-1400s-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 - Kochō (The Butterfly)

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 81.

A priest visiting the capital is admiring some beautiful plum blossom in the rounds of a palace there, when a woman unexpectedly appears beside him.  She tells the priest that she is in reality a butterfly and speaks of her regret that, although she can enjoy all the flowers that bloom in the other seasons, those of the plum which come in early spring are denied to her.  She asks for the priest's prayers to help her to attain salvation and then disappears.  That night, when the priest is resting beneath the tree, he sees the spirit of the butterfly perform a joyful dance because salvation has been made possible, and then watches it disappear again into the mist.

source: noh-sugiura.com

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #793
 Title Kochō 胡蝶 (The Butterfly)
 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)
(Thunder) seal, seal no. 12, 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 December 25, 1926
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Seibi Shoten (or Seibi Shoin), Tokyo
 Carver Uchida Eikichi
 Printer Yoshida Takesaburō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - 1 pin hole upper left; binding holes right side; several spots of foxing; not backed
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous  ihl cat. #793 replaces ihl cat. #143
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 x 14 5/8 in. (25.4 x 37.1 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature