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Hunter Gatherer

Tsukioka Kyōgo Painted Woodblock Print Noh Dance Scene

Tsukioka Kyōgo Painted Woodblock Print Noh Dance Scene

This remarkable painting, painted over a woodblock print features an image of a Japanese noh actor performing. The actor is dressed in elaborate costume as he performs a dance scene. He is presumably the shite, or the main actor, as he wears an omote, a mask. On the back of the print, the word Chikubushima is inscribed, the name of both a sacred island and a noh play which is presumably featured in this print. As one could expect, the play is about the island and, in fact, celebrates it. A courtier and a young woman travel to the island in search of a shrine and in the end it is revealed that neither are human.

As seen in the left bottom corner of the piece, it’s signed Kōgyo circa 1910. Tsukioka Kōgyo was a prominent artist of his time who primarily painted scenes of noh theatre. Many of these paintings and prints were published in sets, while others were preserved as albums in their original bindings. Much of Kōgyo’s volumes are kept in institutions, but there are some rare individual prints floating around, this being one of them.

In addition to Chikubushima, the back is also inscribed with the words “Richard R Day; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Spanish + Indian Trading Co,” as well as “To Dicky O-Day from Lucy Sau,1925” We don’t know who Lucy and Dicky were, but this print was found in a small shop in Santa Fe, tossed haphazardly on a pile of obscure Japanese prints.

19.6” W
15” L

*Note: This piece is very old and thus has some creasing along the sides and corners. Just framed by Castelli Framing here in Los Angeles.
Regular price $975.00
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