Important Cultural PropertyNuihaku (Nō costume)— red and white fabrics based, with design of tanzaku cards, bridges, and snowy

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  • 1 suit
  • L137.6 yuki59.0
  • Azuchi-Momoyama period/16th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • I-2904

 This nuihaku (a Noh costume mainly for female roles, where patterns are created with embroidery and gold/silver leaf) was used in Noh performances during the Momoyama period and handed down to the Mori family. It seems that this nuihaku was used for a young female leading role. This is a gorgeous costume where the ground color is divided into red and white squares, in each of which puffy patterns unique to the Momoyama period are embroidered with silk threads (float stitch) and gold leaf is spread over other parts. The name nuihaku derives from the decoration techniques applied to a kosode (kimono with small wrist openings), that is, embroidery (nui) and gold leaf (haku).
In the red squares, the patterns have two motifs: The first motif is represented by two types of patterns: a tachiwaki design (waves) and weeping cherry blossoms, which look like a ground pattern and irises and bridges, a design taken from Ise Monogatari. The second motif is an elegant landscape where snow covers willows and silver grass. This type of landscape design is called Yukimochi Yanagi and was a popular design particularly for komono during the Momoyama period. People of that time seem to love the elegance represented by a landscape with snow-covered willows. In the white squares, a kaibu design comprising reeds, waves and shells is applied, on which a design of paper strips swaying in the wind is arranged, adding a touch of Waka, a tradition of the court culture. A close examination of the patterns on kimono unfolds the facts that the designs used in Japanese crafts from the late-Medieval period to the early Modern period were closely related to Japanese literature and that this relation has contributed to the development of the world of lyrical patterns unique to Japan.
 The nuihaku is studded with the crests of paulownia, chrysanthemum and swamp independent of the overall pattern structure. These are the crests related to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, suggesting a relationship between Mori Terumoto and Hideyoshi, who loved Noh.