Nuihaku (Noh costume) Lily and courtly carriage design on brown ground

Details

Nuihaku (Noh costume) Lily and courtly carriage design on brown ground

Textiles / Azuchi/Momoyama

Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century

1領

Important Cultural Property

Nuihaku are Noh costumes with designs in embroidery and embossed gold leaf.

This garment features large lilies and small courtly carriages embroidered on a brown ground. This inverse sense of proportion creates a strange impression. Perhaps it conveys a sense of viewing distant carriages through the lilies. No other seasonal flowers are depicted here apart from these large lilies. This rare design is not found on any other garments from this era.

Though the gold leaf pattern has faded considerably, you can still see it in places. For example, the undulating stripe patterns on the unembroidered sections of the brown ground are rendered using pressed gold foil. You can also make out a Manji Buddhist cross pattern within the waves. The designs must have looked even more opulent when the costume was first made.

With its undulating stripe patterns, a common feature of garments worn by the nobility, and its courtly carriage motifs, this garment exudes a deep admiration for Japanese court culture.

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