Noh Costume (Kitsuke)
Artist/maker unknown, Japanese
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.
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