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月岡耕漁 Tsukioka Kōgyo
The Art of Noh, 1869-1927

Nōgaku zue 能 樂 圖 繪, or Pictures of Noh, is a spectacular series of Japanese color woodblock prints by the artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927). The University of Pittsburgh owns a rare, complete set of this series, published at Tokyo between the Meiji years 30-35, or 1897-1902. Bound in traditional folding-album format, the series comprises five volumes of 261 prints inspired by the plays of classical Japanese noh theatre. The complete set of prints, held by the ULS Special Collections Department, is digitally reproduced here along with a descriptive catalog and contextual essays.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Nōgaku zue comprises five bound Meiji period printed albums, protected by a silk wrap-around chitsu (chemise) and stored in a modern archival box. Each volume is of equal size and thickness and bound in the manner of traditional Japanese orihon, or folding scrolls. Each volume contains fifty-two or fifty-three full-page, multi-colored woodblock prints of noh (also spelled: nō, nô) theatre subjects.

In addition to Nōgaku zue, Kōgyo made several other series of prints about noh, including Kyōgen gojūban 狂言五十番, an album of 50 prints inspired by kyōgen plays, recently purchased by the University of Pittsburgh, and Nōga taikan 能画大鑑, another five-volume set of prints about noh theatre, owned by Professors Richard and Mae Smethurst. With the anticipated digitization of these sets by the University Library System (ULS), this website will eventually provide unprecedented online access to three of the four intact series of noh prints. The fourth, Kōgyo’s Nōgaku hyakuban 能楽百番, is digitized and held by Scripps College.

Acknowledgements

The Kogyo project represents the work of a team of scholars, graduate students, digitization specialists, librarians, and administrators at the University of Pittsburgh, including:

  • Dr. Richard Smethurst, Department of History
  • Dr. Mae Smethurst, Department of Classics
  • Dr. Debra Cashion, School of Information Science
  • Sachie Kobayashi, ULS East Asian Library
  • Dr. Naoko Gunji, Augustana College
  • Armen Bakalian, Asian Studies Center
  • Aaron Brenner, Michael Bolam, Ted Tarka, Katrina Milbrodt and Silvano Gallego, ULS Digital Research Library
  • Darryl Bishop and Andrew Horbal, ULS
  • Kari Johnston, ULS Web Services

Special thanks to:

  • Dr. Rush G. Miller, Michael Dabrishus, Edward Galloway, Jeanann Croft Haas, University Library System (ULS)
  • Hiro Good, ULS East Asian Library
  • Margaret P. McGill, ULS Special Collections Department
  • Asian Studies Center
  • Dr. Bruce Coats, Scripps College
  • Generous funding for this project came from the Toshiba International Foundation, and the Japan Iron and Steel Federation and the Mitsubishi endowments at the University of Pittsburgh.

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