TOP
 >> Exhibitions
 >> Noh Drama Kakitsubata (Iris)

Noh Drama Kakitsubata (Iris)

Noh Drama Kakitsubata (Iris) / Honkan Room 9   April 24, 2007 (Tue) - June 17, 2007 (Sun)

  
Nuihaku Garment (Noh Costume), Basket pattern and irises on red, white, green and purple checkered ground, Edo period, 19th century

Kazura-mono is a type of play where an actor wearing a wig (kazura) plays the leading role of the young heroine. These lyrical dramas were usually the third (sanban) in a sequence of five plays, they are also known as sanban-mono. "Kakitsubata" is a kazura-mono drama with a young village woman as the main character in the first half and an iris's (kakitsubata) spirit as the main character in the second half.

The drama begins with a traveling monk at Yatsuhashi, a spot famous for beautiful irises (kakitsubata). A village woman appears out of nowhere and tells him the origin of the area.

"In the Chapter of Yatsuhashi in the Tales of Ise, the hero, Ariwara no Narihira, while on a journey to the eastern provinces, composes a poem about his lover, whom he had left in Kyoto. He starts each section of the poem, about his lover and her karakoromo - a type of garment - using "ka", "ki", "tsu", "ba" and "ta" respectively."
The woman explains that the irises (kakitsubata) the monk was seeing are the very flowers in the poem. She offers the monk lodging for the night and takes him to her hut.

In the second half of the drama, the woman appears in the form of the spirit of an iris (kakitsubata) wearing a choken, which was supposed to be the karakoromo worn by Narihira's lover, and swinging its wide sleeves as she dances. She tells the monk that Narihira was in fact an incarnation of a bodhisattva, and thanks to his poem, she could be reborn in the Pure Land despite she was a plant.

The dance of the spirit wearing Ariwara no Narihira's crown and the karakoromo represents the deep love between the two lovers.
 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Choken Coat (Noh Costume), Fans, peonies and chrysanthemums on purple ground, Edo period, 18th century
Nuihaku Garment (Noh Costume), Basket pattern and irises on red, white, green and purple checkered ground, Edo period, 19th century