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Nōgakuzue, Morihisa


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Morihisa 盛久

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1899

Nōgakuzue, Shunkan

IHL Cat. #1928

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh), depicting a scene from the play Morihisa, written by Kanze Motomasa ( d. 1432)), in which Morihisa holds a sutra while his executioner prepares to cut off his head.

Right Margin Description of Scene
click on image to enlarge

For background on the Noh theater see the article on this site "Noh - A Brief Summary by Beata Kubiak Ho-Chi".

The Play -  Morihisa by Motomasa

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 163-164.

Waki - Tsuchiya no Saburō
Shite - Taira no Morihisa
Waki-tsure - two bearers
Waki-tsure - an executioner
Kyōgen - a servant

After his capture by the Minamoto, Morihisa is sent to Kamakura in the charge of Tsuchiya no Saburō, but continues to pray faithfully to the goddess Kannon throughout the journey.  Even after arriving at Kamakura, Morihisa talks with Tsuchiya about the power of the sutras.  In the course of a short nap he then has a wonderful dream, but immediately afterwards is led off to the execution ground.  There, just when the executioner lift his sword to strike off Morihisa's head, he is so dazzled by the light from the sutra in the prisoner's hand that he drops the sword and sees it shatter into fragments.  In the second act Morihisa appears before the Shōgun Yoritomoe (not represented ont eh stage) and tells of his dream. Having had a similar dream, Yoritimo takes it as an omen and spares Morihisa's life.  he then orders wine to be brought and has Morihisa perform a dance for him.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1928
 Title Morihisa 盛久
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo 耕漁
 Seal White letter seal in a square shape with double border: 耕/漁 [Kō / gyo] (as shown above)
 Date is trimmed from the left margin of this collection's print. The Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University lists the dates as follows:
Printed on July 10, 1899 / Issued on July 15, 1899
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 Publishing information is trimmed from the left margin.
 Impression good
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - minor soiling; backed with original album paper; left margin trimmed
 Genre ukiyo-e; 能楽図絵 Nōgaku zue [Noh play picture]
 Miscellaneous The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston notes Part II, Section I kōhen, jō 後編、上
 Format ōban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 9 1/2 x 13 13/16 in. (24.1 x 35.1 cm)
 H x W Image
 8 7/8 x 12 7/8 in. (22.5 x 32.7 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This PrintArt Research Center, Ritsumeikan University arcUP0978 (July 15, 1899); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 53.2928.34 (July 7, 1899); Art Institute Chicago 1939.2258.133 (1898?); University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0314 (c. 1899); Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery 2011.11.362 (May 10, 1898);  Japan Arts Council BK014-160 (?); The Walters Art Museum 95.268 (1899); The British Museum 1949,0409,0.49 (1899)
 Reference Literature
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