Oct 4, 2019 - Dec 23, 2019

Current Exhibition: Masks and Costumes from the Noh Theater Collection of the Tachibana Family

Tachibana Museum

Please enjoy exploring this world of mysterious profundity.

Noh costume: Kariginu with Genji wheels pattern, Unknown, 18th-19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum
Autumn Exhibition –Masks and Costumes from the Noh Theater Collection of the Tachibana Family–
Noh is a traditional Japanese performing art expressing human nature with concision. It was originally an entertainment performance for religious rites at temples and shrines. From the 14th to 16th century, Noh performances were brought to their present-day form and became sophisticated expressions of the profound aspects of the world. The art came to be favored by court nobles and high-class samurai. In this exhibition, we present the Noh artifacts of the Tachibana family, focusing on gorgeous costumes and masks from the collection of the Tachibana museum. Please enjoy exploring this world of mysterious profundity.
Noh costume: Happi with floral leaves design, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Happi with floral leaves design】

Happi is worn as an outer jacket for a strong character as a demon, ghost, and also Chinese or military commander in armor.

Noh mask Ko-omote, Unknown, 17th-18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Ko-omote】

Ko-omo represents a young woman with maiden innocence and pure beauty.

Noh mask Shakumi, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Shakumi】

Shakumi represents a middle-aged woman torn by separation from her child or husband.

Noh costume: Karaori with autumn flowers design, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Karaori with autumn flowers design】

Karaori robes with red color are worn by performers in young female roles.

Noh mask Uba, Unknown, 17th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Uba】

Uba is a god incarnated as an old woman.

Noh mask Hashihime, Deme Yoshimitsu, 17th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Hashihime】

The mask represents a jealous woman betrayed by her husband soaked in the Uji river for 37 days to place a curse on him, then she became a demon.

Noh costume: Atsuita with battle-axes and clouds design, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Atsuita with battle-axes and clouds design】

Atsuita is an outer robe primarily for male roles. The battle-ax is a suitable motif for Atsuita costume representing a powerful man.

Noh mask Yamamba, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Yamamba】

Yamamba is an energetic mountain spirit living in a deep mountain. She runs from ridge to ridge, and jumps over the valleys freely.

Noh mask Washibana-akujo, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Washibana-akujo】

Washibana-akujo is an old fierce god with facial hair and hooked nose.

Noh costume: Choken with maple leaf design, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Choken with maples design】

Choken is broad-sleeved costume worn primarily by a female dancer.

Noh mask Chujo, Unknown, 17th-18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Chujo】

The mask represents Ariwara no Narihira, a young noble blessed with good looks. He was a famous playboy in the Heian period (9th century).

Noh costume: Kariginu with Genji wheels pattern, Unknown, 18th-19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Kariginu with Genji wheels design】

In Noh plays, Kariginu with gold brocade and lined garment is worn by a majestic and powerful character such as a god or devil.

Noh costume: Surihaku with maple leaf design, Unknown, 18th-19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Surihaku with maples design】

Surihaku is a soft silk inner garment worn for a female role.
Stenciled gold or silver leaves are applied on it to create patterns.

Noh mask Jido, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Jido】

Jido is a young male sprite who possesses eternal youth and immortality.

Noh mask Yoroboshi, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Yoroboshi】

This mask is exclusively used in Noh play “Yoroboshi”. The story is about a boy, who was rejected by his father, and became a blind beggar.

Noh mask Shojo, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Shojo】

Shojo is a sea sprite with fondness for alcohol. The Noh drama “Shojo” is filled with a celebratory atmosphere. The Shojo sprite appears on the stage in an all red costume.

Noh mask Shinkaku, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Shinkaku】

The mask represents a vengeful spirit. It is used for the role of a ghost of military commander or a spirit of god.

Noh mask Chorei-beshimi, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Chorei-beshimi】

This mask represents a ghost of a bandit chief named Kumasaka Chohan.

Noh costume: Karaori with water streams and fans design, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Karaori with fans and water streams design】

Karaori is the most luxurious type of robe developed in imitation of Chinese textile. All patterns are woven instead of embroidered. In Noh dramas, Karaori with red color implies a young woman.

Noh costume: Atsuita with design of mythical lions on cobblestone pattern, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Atsuita with design of mythical lions on cobblestone pattern】

Atsuita, a stately costume with clear and strong design, is mainly used for a male role. The rich color variation of this robe gives a stylish impression.

Noh Performance, Tachibana Hisayoshi, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum
Noh Play of the Yanagawa clan
From the 17th to 18th century, the Noh play was formally recognized as a ceremonial performance art of high-class samurai society. They practiced the performance and made it an essential accomplishment, installing a stage in their residences and preparing stage props, masks and costumes, needed for the plays. The Tachibana family was no exception. They enjoyed the performances with their family, retainers and retained actors. Above all, the 12th lord of the domain had a special preference in Noh, and he sometimes played a leading role called ‘Shite’.
Ranking list of Noh play, Unknown, 19th-20th century, Meiji period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Ranking list of Noh play】

This is a popularity ranking chart of Noh plays held by the 12th lord Akitomo at his residence from 1885 to 1895, after his retirement.

Noh mask Tenjin, Suminobo Mitsumasu, 16th-17th century, Momoyama-Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh mask Tenjin】

The mask represents a deified spirit of Sugawara Michizane who was an aristocrat of varied attainments in the 9th century. He was relegated to Dazaifu in Kyushu region, died, became thereafter thunder, and cursed the Imperial Court.

Noh Costume: Kariginu with Gion-mamori crest design (Supplemental), Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Kariginu with Gion-mamori crest design】

The pattern of this costume depicts the Tachibana family’s crest called ‘Gion-mamori'.

Noh costume: Karaori with plum trees and roses design, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Noh costume: Karaori with plum trees and roses design】

This Noh costume has plum tree and rose patterns woven into a yellow fabric. By repeating the same patterns, it creates a gorgeous Kraori costume just like the Momoyama style.

Mogami-do armour with Gachirin ring, Unknown, 16th century, Momoyama period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum
Permanent Exhibition: The successive Arms and Armor of Daimyo TACHIBANA
From the Warring States Period to the peaceful Edo Period
Hotoke-marudo armour of iyozane scales covered with chestnut leather, Unknown, 16th century, Momoyama period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide P1【Hotoke-marudo armor covered with chestnut leather】

This is one of the suits of armor owned by the first Lord Tachibana Muneshige. The name ‘Hotoke-marudo’ refers to the seamless surface cuirass. It is created by small iron scales laced together, with brown leather wrapped over the scales and tied on the right side. It perfectly represents the style of armor called ‘Tosei-gusoku’ which was made during the 16th to 17th century. This armor is considered to have been made just before the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
The overall form is simple and strong, making it fully functional for battle. On the other hand, the combination of colors, such as the nut brown leather of the cuirass, the red-lacquered tassets hanging beneath the cuirass and silver foil of the thigh guards, reflects the splendor of the Warring States period.
The most remarkable and characteristic part of this armor is the helmet. The ring side-ornament represents moonlight, and the iridescent black tail feathers back-ornament is unique. The neck guard of hineno-jikoro style resembles hair flowing down the back and forms a well-shaped graceful curve.

E90_仏丸胴
Gold gilding helmets of Momonari-style, Unknown, 16th century, Momoyama period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide (Japanese only)【Gold Gilding Helmet of Momonari-style】

These helmets are thought to have been made for Muneshige’s horse guards who were the elite cavalry responsible for guarding the general on the battlefield.
They were all produced between the 16th and 17th centuries. According to the document recorded in 1822, there were 318 helmets preserved. Today, our museum stores a collection of 239 helmets. They were designed under the influence of a western model called 'Morion' which was similar in style and very popular at that time, especially in the Kyushu region, the first one to introduce the western culture.

金箔押桃形兜
Tatami armour of mail and karuta plates, Unknown, 17th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Black lacquered Tatami armor of mail and plates】owned by the 2nd Lord Tachibana Tadashige/17th century

This armor is composed of iron plates linked together by chain which fold compactly to enable easy carrying. Each part of the suit of armor, including the helmet, was stored in the compact box shown on the display, which is 32.7 cm long, 39.7 cm wide and 26.3 cm tall. It is said that the second lord Tadashige took it to the Shimabara War.

Tatami armour of hexagonal plates with cherry blossom pattern, Unknown, 17th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide (Japanese only)【Tatami armor having hexagonal plates with a cherry-blossom pattern】

This armor was worn by the 3rd lord Akitora, probably made in the 17th century. The body is composed of hexagonal iron plates linked together by chain and sewn onto the fabric backing. This type of armor is called ‘Tatami-do (folding armor)’ which can be folded compactly to make it easier to carry. They were originally made for common soldiers, but this armor has a luxurious and sophisticated design befitting a feudal lord. The characteristic bell-shaped helmet is decorated in gold and silver by using techniques of inlay and maki-e.
The style and family crest design of the helmet is older than the ones of the body armor, which indicates that the helmet and body armor were not probably made as one set of armor.

鉄錆地桜文亀甲鉄繋畳具足
Mogami-do armour of horizontal plates with light green lacing, Myochin Kunisada, 1860, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide (Japanese only)【Dark green laced armor with Mogami-do of horizontal plates】

This armor was worn by Akitomo, the 12th and last lord of the Yanagawa domain. Its inscription plates read “Myochin Kunisada, living in Yanagawa”. Kunisada learned from the Myochin family who served as an armor maker of the Tokugawa shogunate in Edo (Tokyo). After obtaining an armorer’s license, he likely returned to his hometown where he was employed by the Yanagawa domain. The history of the armors in the Tachibana family ends up with this armor.

鉄黒漆塗萌黄糸素懸威最上胴具足
Palanquin with maki-e design of talisman crests and plum blossom scroll, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum
Permanent Exhibition: The Wedding Trousseaus of Daimyo Families
A large number of luxurious wedding furniture was prepared for the wedding of a feudal lord’s daughter in the Edo period. Each piece was embellished with maki-e design representing the bride’s family crest. Most of the trousseaus stored in the Tachibana museum were owned by Princess Sumi, the wife of the last lord of the Yanagawa domain.
Smaller clothing storage box with maki-e design of Aoi crests and arabesque, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide (Japanese only)【Smaller clothing storage box with maki-e design of Aoi crests and arabesque】

This is a traveling chest for spare clothes or personal belongings, carried by a servant via a stick over the shoulder. It has an Aoi crest design made up with sprinkled gold powder over the black lacquered coating. The Aoi is the Tokugawa shogunate family crest representing a hollyhock. This gorgeous chest was brought to the wedding of Princess Sumi, as one of her furniture pieces. She was from the Tayasu-Tokugawa family, and became the wife of the 13th head of the Tachibana family.

黒漆塗唐草に葵紋蒔絵挟箱
Large oblong chest with maki-e design of Aoi crests, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Large oblong chest with maki-e design of Aoi crests】

This traveling chest is one of the trousseau for Princess Sumi.

Palanquin with maki-e design of talisman crests and plum blossom scroll, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide (Japanese only)【Palanquin with maki-e design of talisman crests and plum blossom scroll】

Palanquins were subdivided and allotted to different classes of dignities in the Edo period (1603-1867). This gorgeous palanquin was exclusively intended for women of high social rank, probably carried by four bearers; two at the front and two at the back. It is sprinkled with gold powder depicting two kinds of the Tachibana family crests and arabesque pattern on the black lacquered surface. When you look at the inside of the palanquin, you may imagine how it was hard to sit in such a narrow space for a long trip. But in the Edo period, the women of the feudal lord class were only allowed to go out visiting shrines or temples near their residences. Therefore, the time spent in the palanquin is considered to have been a very short time.

黒漆塗梅唐草に祇園守紋蒔絵女乗物
Yusoku-bina doll, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum
Permanent Exhibition: Exquisite Dolls of the Tachibana Family
The feature of the dolls in the collection of the Tachibana family is its littleness. In spite of having the small pieces, they are exquisitely crafted which is impressive and marvelous.
Yusoku-bina dolls, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide P7【Ỷūsoku-bina dolls】

A set of Hina dolls is displayed during the Doll Festival in order to celebrate the health and happiness of girls in Japan. There were various kinds of Hina dolls during the Edo period from 1603 to 1867. Ỷūsoku-bina was just one kind. Ỷūsoku-bina dolls were made in Kyoto and appeared for the first time in the 18th century. They represent court nobles clad in exact replica of Imperial Court costume, hairstyle, and makeup. The male doll wears Kariginu, an informal court costume. The female doll wears an informal court dress as well, consisting of a scarlet skirt and several layered robes. The graceful dolls, born from the court culture in Kyoto, were suitable pieces for display for the families of feudal lords.

E95_有職雛
Miniature accoutrements for Hina dolls, Edo Nanasawaya, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide (Japanese only)【Miniature accoutrements for Hina dolls】

Several hundred miniature accessories of Hina dolls were found in the Tachibana family. Almost of those were made by Nanasawa-ya, a fancy doll shop in Edo, now Tokyo. This doll shop was renowned for its skillful craftsmanship that faithfully reproduced miniatures from the original.
Every piece looks real such as the game cards with poems written on them, Japanese chess pieces and shells with pictures. The shells were originally made from clam shell and used for playing a matching game. These miniature shells were made from baby clam shells.

雛調度
Keshi-bina dolls, Edo Nanasawaya, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide P9【Keshi-bina dolls】

The first Hina dolls produced in Edo were Kokin-bina. Before the Kokin-bina doll appeared, Hina dolls were primarily produced in Kyoto. Different from Kyoto’s Yusoku-bina doll which perfectly reflects court culture, Kokin-bina does not provide an accurate portrayal of the life and style of court nobles. However, the gorgeous costume and its good-looking long face gained great popularity in Edo. And in particular, tiny kokin-bina were called ‘keshi or poppyseed bina.’ There is a theory that tiny Hina doll became popular once the luxury goods were banned by sumptuary laws. This set of keshi bina dolls is a valuable group made by Nanasawa-ya, one of the most famous doll shops in Edo.

E97_芥子雛
Kamo dolls, Unknown, 19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide P10【Kamo doll】

It is believed that the Kamo doll originated when an odd-job man of Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto started making dolls using fabric tucked into a piece of wood. The history of these dolls is obscure, lacking reliable historical sources.
The special characteristics of the Kamo dolls are their tiny size and the warm smiles on their faces. In the collection of the Tachibana family, 243 Kamo dolls still exist. Such a large number of collections is rarely ever seen, even in Japan. They were probably brought into Yanagawa as souvenirs of Kyoto. The wooden dolls wear doll-sized brocade costumes with the edges tucked into grooves. Particularly, the small-size Kamo dolls are called ‘mame Kamo,’ and ‘mame’ means pea-size. They are self-righting dolls with a tiny weight in the bottom. The smallest is only 5 mm in height.

E98_賀茂人形
Gosho doll, Unknown, 18th-19th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

Audio Guide P11【Gosho doll】

This chubby infant doll with white glossy skin is called a ‘Gosho doll.’ It originated in Kyoto and had been favored by court nobles. The dolls were sophisticated in the court culture, and became one of the representative dolls of Japanese doll culture. Starting in the eighteenth century, the doll played a role as a court gift to feudal lords who had visited the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, or as a souvenir that court messengers brought to feudal lords’ domains. Therefore, many Gosho dolls remain in those families. The Gosho dolls belonging to the Tachibana family are characterized by their small size. More than half of them are 3 cm or less in height which is exceptionally small for a Gosho doll.

E99_御所人形
Saga doll, Unknown, 18th century, Edo period, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum

【Saga doll】

This naked doll is called ‘Saga doll’. It was made of wood, applying brilliant colors. It is said that the naked Saga dolls influenced the creation of Gosho dolls. So, they look almost the same, but the Saga dolls are distinguished by its slim body.

Credits: Story

Tachibana Foundation TACHIBANA MUSEUM


Curated by
UENO Kaori (TACHIBANA MUSEUM)

Voice acting by
Tomei Joseph

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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