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Nōgakuzue, Sanemori

Nōgakuzue, Miidera

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Sanemori 實盛

(The Warrior Sanemori)

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1899

Nōgaku hyakuban, Contents Sheet Volume 1

IHL Cat. #1939

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh), depicting a scene from the play Sanemori attributed to the playwright Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443).

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 - Sanemori

Sources: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 148-149 and http://www.noh-kyogen.com/story/english/Sanemori.pdf

Act 1:
Waki - the traveling priest Ta-ami Shōnin
Waki-tsure - two attendant priests
Kyōgen (interlude actor) - a local man
Shite - an old man

Act 2:
Nochi-shite - Saitō Bettō Sanemori

Sanemori was of the Genji Clan but sided with the losing Heike in 12th century Genji-Heike battles, dying at Shinowara at the age of 72. To hide his age, he dyed his white hair black and also obtained the privilege of wearing brocade robe in battle. The ghost of Sanemori appears before a traveling priest two centuries later, tells how he met his death, and asks to be saved. 

After a local person of Shinowara explains in a short prologue that the priest Ta-ami preaches there every day,  apparently to himself, the priest begins his sermon.  An old man, visible to Ta-ami but to no one else, then comes to listen as he has on every previous day.  When asked about himself, he reveals that he is the ghost of the warrior Sanemori who was killed in battle there more than two hundred years ago, and then he vanishes beside the pond in which his head was washed after his death.  When the priest prays there through the night for the repose of Sanemori's spirit, the ghost appears and tells the story of his last battle before which, being already an old man at the time, he died his white hair to hide his age.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1939
 Title Sanemori 實盛 (The Warrior Sanemori)
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo 耕漁
 SealWhite letter seal in a rectangular shape with double border: 湖畔 [Kohan], as shown above
Issue date is only partially visible due to trimming of left margin. Issued date is taken from other impressions which same printing date.
Printed on March 5, 1899 / Issued on March 10, 1899
明治三十二年日印刷 / 明治三十二年發行
 Edition unknown
 Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 Printed and published 印刷兼發行者
 Address 日本橋区吉川町二番地 松木平吉 followed by   Daikokuya seal.  
 Impression good
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - minor soiling; album backing paper, left margin partially trimmed
 Genre  nishiki-e; 能楽図絵 Nōgaku zue [Noh play picture]
 Miscellaneous MFA, Boston notes: Part II, Section 1 kōhen, jō 後編、上
 Format ōban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 9 9/16 x 13 15/16 in. (24.3 x 35.4 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 Print Art Institute Chicago 1939.2258.136 (March 10, 1899); University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0317 (March 10, 1899); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 53.2928.37
 Reference Literature
last update:
5/2/2019 created