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Nōgakuzue, Yugyō Yanagi

Nōgakuzue, Miidera

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Yugyō Yanagi 遊行柳

(The Priest and the Willow)

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1899

Nōgaku hyakuban, Contents Sheet Volume 1

IHL Cat. #1938

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh), depicting a scene from the play Yugyō Yanagi by the playwright Kanze Nobumitsu (mid-1400s-1516).

For another depiction of this play by the artist see Nōga taikan, Yugyō Yanagi.

Right Margin Description of Scene
click on image to enlarge

The Play - Yugyō Yanagi (The Priest and the Willow)

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p.222.

The priest Yugyō passes the barriers at Shirakawa and meets an old man who guides him to an aged and withered willow tree standing on a mound.  The man explains that this is the tree made famous by Saigyō who rested in its shade, and then vanishes from sight.  That night, after praying at the spot, the priest sees the spirit of the willow tree, which rejoices at his prayers and tells him stories connected with other willows.  It then dances for him, but fades from sight again with the coming of dawn.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1938
 Title Yugyō Yanagi 遊行柳 (The Priest and the Willow; also seen translated as Spirt of the Willow)
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo 耕漁
 Seal Red letter round seals in a pair with an outside rectangle: 耕・漁 [Kō・gyo]
Issue date is not visible due to trimming of left margin but other extant copies with the same print date show September 1, 1899
Printed on August 25, 1899 / Issued on September 1, 1899
明治三十二五年八月廿五日印刷 / [trimmed]
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 Publisher's name trimmed from left margin leaving only publisher's address 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - minor soiling; album backing paper, left margin partially trimmed
 Genre ukiyo-e; 能楽図絵 Nōgaku zue [Noh play picture]
 Miscellaneous MFA, Boston notes: Part II, Section I (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 15/16 x 12 15/16 in. (22.7 x 32.9 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This Print Art Institute Chicago 1939.2258.135 (September 1, 1899); University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0316 (c. 1899); Ritsumeikan, Art Research Center arcUP0980 CoGno. arcUP0848 (September 1, 1899); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (September 1, 1899); Waseda University Theatre Museum 201-4975
 Reference Literature
last update:
5/1/2019 created