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Nōga taikan, Koi no Omoni


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Koi no Omoni 恋重荷

(The Burden of Love)

from the series Nōga taikan

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1925-1930

IHL Cat. #215

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 Koi no Omoni by the playwright Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443).

The Play - Koi no Omoni

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 83-84.

A Court official announces that as an old gardener in the palace has fallen in love with a Court lady, she has had a heavy weight wrapped in brocade so that it seems light, and has said that if the gardener carries it many times around the grounds she will then let him see her again.  The lady hopes that, by this means, the gardener will be led to forget her when he finds the burden too heavy to carry, but instead he is filled with a bitterness at her cruelty in setting him such as impossible task.  Having failed to move the weight, he leaves with a crazed air and shortly afterwards a servant reports that he has drowned himself in the lake in the grounds.  The official tells the lady what has happened and asks her to go to look at his body in the hope that the old man's bitterness of spirit will then be relieved.  But the lady is unable to rise, being held down, it seems, by a weight such as that which the gardener has tried to lift.  His angry ghost then appears and reviles the lady for her heartlessness, but gradually its anger abates until in the end it forgives her and promises to protect her from all harm.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #215
 Title Koi no Omoni 恋重荷 (The Burden of Love)
 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 - trimmed; 1/8" paper missing lower right corner; not backed
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 x 13 7/8 in. (25.4 x 35.2 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature