Home‎ > ‎Artists‎ > ‎Matsuno Sōfū (1899-1963)‎ > ‎

Miidera (September), sasa-no-den from the series Twelve Months of Noh Pictures

Kakitsubata, koi-no-mai (June) from the series Twelve Months of Noh Pictures

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Miidera, sasa-no-den (September)

from the series  Twelve Months of Noh Pictures

by Matsuno Sōfū, 1970

Nōga taikan, Semimaru

IHL Cat. #1883

About This Print and Twelve Months of Noh Pictures

In this print a mother finds herself by the famed belfry of the Mii Temple during the harvest moon festival. Though the belfry is closed to female visitors, she strikes the bell, crazed with grief and searching for her lost son."1

Twelve Months of Noh Pictures

From a series of twelve prints depicting twelve Noh plays, one play for each month, published by Unsōdō Publishing in 1970. Six of the prints (for the months of January, February, June, September, November and December) were created by Matsuno Sōfū (1899-1963) and the other six (for the months of March, April, May, July, August and October) were created by his son Matsuno Hideyo (1936-2002) As Sōfū died in 1963, his prints must have been created from existing designs.

As originally issued, the prints were sold as a set with each print placed inside its own mat, which was overlayed with a commentary sheet on the play in Japanese and English.  The matted print and commentary were then placed inside an envelope (shown below, left) and all twelve envelopes were then placed into a cloth folio (shown below, right.)

Interestingly, the artist seals appearing on the prints, each one being different, srelate to the play being pictured.  In this print the seal means "The Full Moon Reminds a Poet of His Friend More Than 2000 Li Away" (according to the commentary sheet below), although I can't relate it to the play.

1 Scripps College Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery website http://web-kiosk.scrippscollege.edu/OBJ?sid=171408&rec=16&port=0&art=0&page=16

Right Column:
昭和四十五年九月日 [ Printing date: September 1, 1970]
昭和四十五年九月十日 [Publishing date: September 10, 1970]
十二佳月能雅摺  十二枚 [Twelve Months of Noh Pictures. Complete set of 12 prints]
Center Column:
不許複製 [All rights reserved]
作者 野奏風 秀世 [authors Matsuno Sōfū (and) Hideyo]
発行者 本田太郎 [publisher Honda Gitarō (reading of name uncertain]
彫師 長島道男 [carver Nagashima Mishio]
摺師 新味三郎 [printer Shinmi Saburō]
Left Column:
発行所 株式会社 芸艸堂 [Publishing House Unsōdō Corporation]
[address, etc.]

Commentary sheet included with print

The Play - Miidera

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 108.

By Zeami
Fourth Group
All schools


Shite - the mother of Semmitsu
Kyōgen - a soothsayer
Ko-kata - the child of Semmitsu
Waki - a priest of Miidera
Waki-tsure - two attendant priests
Kyōgen - a servant

A mother whose child has disappeared makes a long pilgrimage to the Kyōmizu-dera in Kyoto and asks the goddess Kannon to help her find him again.  She has a dream which is interpreted by a fortune-teller to mean that she must go to the temple called Mii-dera to meet her son again.  Arriving there on the night of the full moon quite unbalanced through anxiety and grief, she rings the temple bell.  The priests of the temple, who are looking after her son Semmitsu and have been viewing the moon with him, come up to reproach her.  But as they talk, it is found that she is the boy's mother and the two are happily reunited.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1883
Miidera 三井寺 笹之伝

Note: the Noh play Miidera is variously seen referred to in English as "Miidera Temple", "Humorless Number", "Grass Bamboo Number" and "The Mii Temple" among others.
 Series/Album Twelve Months of Noh Pictures
 十二佳月能雅摺 Jūnikagetsu noh ga suri
 Matsuno Sōfū (1899-1963)
 Seal4 The commentary accompanying the print states "Characters inscribed in the seal (see above) mean: 'The Full Moon Reminds a Poet of His Friend More Than 2000 Li Away'""
 Date Publishing date: September 10, 1970 
 昭和四十五年九月十日 as printed on colophon
 Printing date: September 1, 1970 
 昭和四十五年九月日 as printed on colophon
 Edition first and only
Unsōdō Publishing 芸艸堂 版
hori Nagashima 彫 長島
suri Shinmi 摺 新味
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre nishiki-e; Nōgaku zue [Noh play picture]
 Format oban
 H x W Paper 15 1/16 x 10 1/2 in. (38.3 x 26.7 cm)
 H x W Image 14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (36.2 x 24.1 cm)
 Collections This Print The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College 2009.1.78; Honolulu Museum of Art 23671
 Reference Literature 
last revision: