Japanese Noh Prints

1160 Words5 Pages
Christine Kim
DRAM 117
Reflection Paper

After reading On the Art of the Noh Drama and Izutsu, our class discussed and learned about the many unique characteristics of Noh Theatre. In a nutshell, Noh is “a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century” (Wikipedia). The word itself stands for “skill,” “ability,” “accomplishment, or “perfected art” according to what we learned in class. The earlier form of Noh Theatre was called Sarugaku, which literally means “monkey music” and that form reached the present form based on the works of Kan’ami and Zeami, under the patronage of the third shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Noh Theatre possesses a myriad of distinctive characteristics that were evident from the Noh prints we were to analyze from the Study Gallery at the Ackland Art Museum. These prints were made from taking a specifically carved woodblock, or woodcut, and painting the raised areas to press down onto paper. This technique, created by Tsukioka Kogyo, reminds me of a how a stamp works. In these beautiful prints, I noticed that there wasn’t such a broad spectrum of colors used; the artist used mostly “earth” colors, including blue, red, green, brown, black, and yellow. Immediately, I remembered the five-colored curtain that is a part of a typical Noh stage. The five colors represent wood, fire, earth, metal, and water, which match the impression I got from the colors used in the Noh prints. In addition, I noticed that the prints are generally duller regarding brightness and contrast. The colors are not very extreme and do not stand out too much, giving off a faded look. Also, out of the sixteen prints, almost all of them have human characters present that take the spotlight. There is at least one main figure in each print and that figure is doing some type of action. The prints make the viewer think about what
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