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Pictures of Noh Plays: Kusanagi

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Tsukioka Kogyo, Japanese, (1869–1927)
Pictures of Noh Plays: Kusanagi, September 10, 1898
Ink on paper
10 in. x 14 3/4 in. (25.4 cm x 37.47 cm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Bruce A. Coats
Accession Number: 2010.4.5


Alternate Title: No-gaku zue: Kusanagi

Commentary
Prince Yamato Takeru no Mikoto was given a sword by his aunt, who was head priestess at the Ise Shrine. According to legend, this sacred blade had been cut from a serpent’s tail by the brother of the sun goddess. When Prince Yamato Takeru was ordered by his father the emperor to subdue provinces in the northeast, he used the sword against the rebels, cutting down the grasses they had set on fire. In this print, the Prince describes that battle in a dance to an itinerant Buddhist priest, who sits beside the Prince’s consort. The sacred sword was then named Kusanagi / “Grass cutter.”
See: Supernatural Beings from Japanese Noh Plays of the Fifth Group, ed. C. Shimazaki & S. Comee, pp. 16-17.

Dr. Bruce Coats, Professor of Art History and the Humanities, Scripps College

Marks
Signed: "Kogyo" Seal: Red rectangular seal.

Object Description
Color woodblock print depicting a scene from the Noh play Kusanagi (Category 4 Play).

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