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Nōgakuzue, Yoshino Tennin


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Yoshino Tennin 吉野天人

(The Goddess at Yoshino)

from the series Nōgakuzue

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1904

Nōgakuzue, Kurama Tengu

IHL Cat. #1143

About This Print

One of 261 prints from the series Nōgakuzue (Illustrations of Noh).  The print depicts a goddess performing a dance in praise of the cherry blossoms (Gosechi).  (See story below.)

For another depiction of this play by the artist see Nōgaku hyakuban, Yoshino Tennin.

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

The Play - Yoshino Tennin (The Goddess at Yoshino) by Kanze Nobumitsu

Source: from a web blog titled Koredō – 是道 http://oroshi.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/the-tanka-of-eishin-ryu-1-yokogumo-2/
A two act play in which a man from the city (Kyoto) travels to Mt. Yoshino to see the cherry blossoms. There he encounters a beautiful woman who later appears in her true form as a celestial being (Tennin), who dances in praise of the cherry blossoms. 

In final part of the play, as the character disappears upon a cloud of cherry blossom (as pictured in this print), the chorus recites the following lines: 

Miyoshino, with mist trailing low overhead;
The mountains of Yoshino are coloured with cherry blossom
Ride upon a cloud of petals
Ride upon a cloud of petals
Without knowing the destination.

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 219.


By Kojirō [A miss-attribution. More contemporary sources attribute the play to Kanze Nobumitsu (1450?-1516)]

Third Group
Performed by all schools

Act 1:
Waki - a man from the capital
Waki-tsure - two companions
Shite - a woman
Kyōgen - a local person

Act 2:
Nochi-shite - a goddess

Some people on their way to view the cherry blossom at Yoshino meet a beautiful woman who joins them to enjoy the flowers.  Before leaving she tells them that she is a goddess and that she will return later and perform an ancient dance for them.  This she does, and after praising the beauties of spring, disappears on a cloud of blossoms.

Right Margin Description of Scene
click on image to enlarge

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1143
 Title Yoshino Tennin 吉野天人 (The Goddess at Yoshino)
 Series Nōgakuzue 能樂圖繪 (Illustrations of Noh)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo-e 耕漁 繪
White letter seal in a double ring shape with double border: 湖・畔 [Ko・han]
Toshihisa no in (seal of Toshimisa), seal no. 97, p. 172 in The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010.
 DateThis collection's print was issued January 28,1904 as shown in the print's left margin, as follows: 
Date of Printing: January 20, 1904 (Meiji 37)
Date of Issuance: January 28, 1904

The ARC database entry for their print arcUP0869 carries different dates from this collection's print, as follows: 
Printed on January 20, 1898; Issued on January 25, 1898
 Edition unknown 
 Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 日本橋区吉川町二番地 松木平吉 (in left margin) followed by Daikokuya seal,  as shown on left.  
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - album backing; full size, light soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous gold and silver mica highlights in earth spider's robe
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 9 13/16 x 14 7/16 in. (24.9 x 36.7 cm)
 H x W Image
 8 7/8 x 13 1/8 in. (22.5 x 33.3 cm) area within printed black border
 Collections This PrintArt Institute of Chicago 1939.2258.28; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo.arcUP0869 CoGNo.arcUP0840 AlGNo.arcUP0840; University of Pittsburgh 20091209-kogyo-0189; Scripps College Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery 2008.1.79 
 Reference Literature