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Matsukaze (September) from the series Twelve Months of Noh Tanzaku

Kamo from the album Nō Sugata

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Matsukaze (September)

from the series Twelve Months of Noh Tanzaku

by Matsuno Sōfū, 1950-early 1960s

Nōga taikan, Semimaru

IHL Cat. #2404

About This Print and Twelve Months of Noh Tanzaku

Depicted in this tanzaku1 format print is the main character Matsukaze in the Noh play of the same name. 

For another print in this collection depicting this play see Matsukaze, tawamure-no-mai (July) from the series Twelve Months of Noh Pictures.

Twelve Months of Noh Tanzaku

From an undated set of twelve prints depicting twelve Noh plays, one play for each month, published by Unsōdō Publishing.  This set likely preceded the set of prints with a similar name Twelve Months of Noh Pictures designed by Matsuno Sōfū (1899-1963) and his son Matsuno Hideyo (1936-2002). The print set, as stated in its title, was designed in the tanzaku format, a long and narrow pillar format originally used for poem cards and offerings. Each print presents the main character in a noh play in a truncated profile, allowing the viewer to complete the picture for each well known play.

In this set, reference image shown below, each print is mounted on a stiff board, the verso of which contains the prints title. The colophon for the set is shown below.

松野奏風画伯筆 能短冊十二月 版画
Twelve Months of Noh Tanzaku by Matsuno Sofu, Woodblock Prints 

一月 翁; 二月 羽衣; 三月 熊野; 四月 草子洗小町; 五月 杜若; 六月 雲雀山; 七月 班女; 八月 三井寺;九月 松風; 十月 花筐; 十一月 葛城; 十二月 猩々
January Okina; February Hagoromo; March Yuya; April Sōshi Arai Komachi; May Kakitsubata; June Hibariyama; July Hanjo; August Miidera; September Matsukaze; October Hanagatami; November Kazuraki; December Shōjō

株式会社 芸艸堂
東京都文京区湯島一目 3-6
Art Book Publishing
Unsōdō Public Company
Kyoto City address
Tokyo address

The Play - Matsukaze

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 101-102.

By Zeami

Third Group
All schools

Waki - a traveling priest
Kyōgen - a local person
Tsure - a girl, the ghost of Murasame
Shite - a girl, the ghost of Matsukaze

A traveling priest comes to Suma Bay and prays for the souls of the two fishergirls Matsukaze and Murasame who were loved by the poet Yukihira when he was exiled there long ago.  At dusk he begs shelter from two girls who appear, carrying brine to fill the salt-pans.  They weep when he quotes a poem by Yukihira and tells them of his prayers, and when he questions them, reveal that they are the spirits of Matsukaze and Murasame.  After they tell him of their happiness with Yukihira, Matsukaze, who is particularly affected by the memory, puts on the poet's cap and robe and dances.  Morning comes, the priest awakes, and nothing is to be heard but the murmur of the wind in the pine trees.

Source: Japanese No PlaysTourist Library Vol. 16,Zemmaro Toki, Japan Travel Bureau, 1954, p. 147.
Matsukaze is one of the most celebrated of the Noh plays.  The masks worn by the shite and the shite-zure [tsure] are of the koomote type representing beautiful young ladies, and the dance performed by the shite is the graceful chū-no-mai succeeded by the ha-no-mai, which is the simpler dance.

1 Small vertical poem cards, approximately 36cm long x 6cm wide that may be decorated with colored designs, sprinkled with cut gold, silver or mica or covered with silk. The origins of this form may be connected to small slips of paper used for divining in ancient times. Another possible origin of tanzaku comes from the Heian period, when small rectangular pieces of paper, on which one poem was written, were used for poetry anthologies. The earliest extant examples from the 14c are of waka 和歌 poems on tanzaku white with no decoration. It was during the Muromachi period that tanzaku became highly decorated with cloud patterns overlaid with cut pieces of gold and silver. [source: Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System.]

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2404
 Matsukaze (September) 松風 (九月)
title printed verso
 Series/Album Twelve Months of Noh Tanzaku
 能短冊十二月 Noh tanzaku jūnikagetsu
 Matsuno Sōfū (1899-1963)
 Seal 枩埜崇 Matsunosō [last character in seal unconfirmed]
 Date unknown, but likely 1950-early 1960s
 Edition unknown
 Unsōdō Publishing 芸艸堂 版
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - several spots light foxing
 Genre nishiki-e; Nōgaku zue [Noh play picture]
 Format tanzaku
 H x W Paper 14 1/4 x 2 7/8 in. (36.2 x 7.3 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature 
last revision:
12/7/2020 created