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Nōga taikan, Kuruma-zō


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kuruma-zō 車僧 (The Carriage Priest)

from the series Nōga taikan

by Matsuno Sōfū, 1930

IHL Cat. #399

About This Print

One of 200 prints issued as part of the series ga taikan (Encyclopedia of Noh Plays).   The artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927) designed the vast majority of prints for this series, but died before its completion.  His student Matsuno Sōfū (1899-1963) designed this print and twenty-three additional prints for this series after Kōgyo's death.1  This print depicts a scene from the play Kuruma-zō, sometimes attributed to the playwright Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443).

1 According to Robert Schapp in The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), "Sōfū's contributions all appear in what would have been the first album, but in fact the last published on January 25, 1930."

The Play - Kuruma-zō (The Carriage Priest)

Source: A Guide to No, P.G. O'Neill, Hinoki Shoten, 1929, p. 93.

Act 1:
Waki - the 'carriage priest'
Shite - a goblin, disguised as a yamabushi priest
Kyōgen - the comic goblin Mizogoe
Act 2:
Nochi-shite - the goblin

One snowy winter's day the 'carriage priest', so named because he goes everywhere in an old broken carriage, visits Saga and is there accosted by a yamabushi priest who engages him in a religious contest of words.  Defeated in this, the second priest retires but returns later in his true form as a goblin.  On this occasion he tries to overcome the other's holy power by his evil influence, but as this too proves to be beyond him he goes away acknowledging the superior power of the Buddhist priest.

Design Drawing for Carriage Stage Prop

Component Proper Name: chaired carriage
Piece: Kurumazō
Book, Noo tsukurimono zu, noh props
Date: unknown
Courtesy of Hosei University Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute; all rights reserved.
Copyright 1998-2008, Global Performing Arts Consortium. All Rights Reserved.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #399
 Title Kuroma-zō 車僧 (The Carriage Priest)
 Series Nōga taikan (Encyclopedia of Noh Plays)
 Matsuno Sōfū (1899-1963)
 Date 1930
 Edition unknown
 Publisher Seibi Shoten, Tokyo
 Carver Uchida Eikichi
 Printer Yoshida Takesaburō
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre nishiki-e; Nōgaku zue [Noh play picture]
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 9 7/8 x 14 7/8 in. (25.2 x37.8 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Reference Literature