Noh Costume (Kitsuke)

Artist/maker unknown, Japanese

Made in Japan, Asia

Edo Period (1615-1868)

18th century

Silk satin weave decorated with patinated metallic leaf applied to a stenciled paste base

45 x 41 1/2 inches (114.3 x 105.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

* Gallery 242, Asian Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift (by exchange) of Mary A. Williams and Charles H. Ludington, 1988

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Surihaku robes, decorated solely with metallic stenciling, include urokohaku (scale-patterned) robes like this example, which are used exclusively in Noh drama to symbolize the uncontrolled passions of certain female roles. At first, when the demonic nature of the character is hidden, the scaled surihaku robe is mostly concealed beneath an outer robe; later in the play, the character dons a demon mask and reveals this inner garment. With its iridescent triangles stenciled on lustrous satin, the robe represents the reptilian skin of the character, who has been transformed into a serpent or demon by the corrosive power of jealousy and hatred.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.