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Kōgyo, Tsukioka, The Art of Noh



What's online?

The entire collection is scanned and online.

What's in the entire collection?

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.

About Tsukioka Kōgyo and Nōgaku zue

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.

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.

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