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Nōgaku hyakuban, Yōkihi

Nōgaku hyakuban, Mekari

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Yōkihi 楊貴妃

(The Chinese Beauty Yang Guifei)

No. 32 from the series Nōgaku hyakuban

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1923

Nōgaku hyakuban, Tomonaga

IHL Cat. #1940

About This Print

One of 120 prints issued as part of the series Nōgaku hyakuban (One Hundred Prints of Noh). The print depicts Yōkihi (Yang Guifei or Yang Kuei-fei in Chinese) the favorite concubine of the Chinese emperor Hsüan-tsung holding a hair ornament of gold and coral in the play Yōkihi written by Komparu Zenchiku (1405-1470?).

This print was originally released by the publisher Matsuki Heikichi in the eleventh installment of prints in this series.  This series' prints were offered in monthly installments consisting of three prints packaged in an envelope with additional descriptive information.1  

“The series Nogaku hyakuban (100 No plays) by Tsukioka Kogyo (1869-1927),” Claus-Peter Schulz, Andon 67, Society for Japanese Arts, p. 28.

The Play - Yōkihi 楊貴妃 (The Chinese Beauty Yang Guifei) 

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p.214.

Waki - a magician
Kyōgen - a local person
Shite - Yōkihi

The Emperor Gen-sō (Hsuan Tsung) of T'ang, grief stricken at the death of his beloved Yō-kihi (Yang Kuei-fei), has commissioned a magician to find out where she is. Hearing at last that she is in the palace on the magic island of Hōrai, he gains an audience with her there and asks for something to take back to the Emperor as proof of their meeting. She gives him a bejewelled hair ornament but when pressed for some more certain identification, discloses that she and Gen-sō promised each other that 'In Heaven, we shall become birds flying ever wing to wing; on earth, we shall become trees with branches entwined.' Yō-kihi dances for the visitor and then sadly watches him return to her lover with her memento and secret words.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1940
 Title Yōkihi 楊貴妃 (The Chinese Beauty Yang Guifei) 
 Series Nōgaku hyakuban 能楽百番 (One Hundred Prints of Noh or One Hundred Noh Plays)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo 耕漁
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 May 1923
 Edition unknown
Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya)
松木平吉 (大黒屋)
seal reading:
東京両国 大黒屋 発行
published by Daikokuya, Tokyo, Ryōgoku 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - not backed; slight soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban tate-e
 H x W Paper 14 7/8 x 10 1/16 in. (37.8 x 25.6 cm)
 Collections This Print Art Institute of Chicago 1943.834.35; Ritsumeikan University AcNo. arcUP1453 CoGNo. arcUP1343; Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College 2007.1.85
 Reference Literature
 (pictured in)
 The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 175.