Antique dark blue silk houmongi sayagata kimono w/ Noh
A really beautiful antique silk houmongi kimono in dark blue woven sayagata. This lovely item is decorated with dyed Noh play characters. It’s in very good condition with only very minor spotting on the lining. It is very wearable! (see photos)
This delightful item measures a generous 168 cm long, is 134 cm from sleeve end to sleeve end, is 65 cm across the shoulders and the sleeve drop is 48 cm. It’s a roomy kimono!
•Houmongi: Sometimes spelled homongi. Literally translates as ‘visiting wear’. A type of semi-formal kimono. Houmongi can be worn at any age and any occasions from a formal ceremony to daily occasions such as visiting a friend’s house. They have no mon (crests). Houmongi is less formal than the furisode (formal dress for unmarried women) or tomesode and slightly more formal than a tsukesage. Characterised by patterns that flow round the bottom and right up over the shoulders, over the seams and onto the sleeves
• Noh—its name derived from nō, meaning “talent” or “skill”—is unlike Western narrative drama. Rather than being actors or “representers” in the Western sense, Noh performers are simply storytellers who use their visual appearances and their movements to suggest the essence of their tale rather than to enact it. Little “happens” in a Noh drama, and the total effect is less that of a present action than of a simile or metaphor made visual. The educated spectators know the story’s plot very well, so that what they appreciate are the symbols and subtle allusions to Japanese cultural history contained in the words and movements.
Noh developed from ancient forms of dance drama and from various types of festival drama at shrines and temples that had emerged by the 12th or 13th century. Noh became a distinctive form in the 14th century and was continually refined up to the years of the Tokugawa period(1603–1867). It became a ceremonial drama performed on auspicious occasions by professional actors for the warrior class—as, in a sense, a prayer for peace, longevity, and the prosperity of the social elite. Outside the noble houses, however, there were performances that popular audiences could attend. The collapse of the feudal order with the Meiji Restoration (1868) threatened the existence of Noh, though a few notable actors maintained its traditions. After World War II the interest of a larger audience led to a revival of the form.
There are five types of Noh plays. The first type, the kami (“god”) play, involves a sacred story of a Shintō shrine; the second, shura mono (“fighting play”), centres on warriors; the third, katsura mono (“wig play”), has a female protagonist; the fourth type, varied in content, includes the gendai mono (“present-day play”), in which the story is contemporary and “realistic” rather than legendary and supernatural, and the kyōjo mono (“madwoman play”), in which the protagonist becomes insane through the loss of a lover or child; and the fifth type, the kiri or kichiku (“final” or “demon”) play, features devils, strange beasts, and supernatural beings. A typical Noh play is relatively short. Its dialogue is sparse, serving as a mere frame for the movement and music. A standard Noh program consists of three plays selected from the five types so as to achieve both an artistic unity and the desired mood; invariably, a play of the fifth type is the concluding work. Kyōgen, humorous sketches, are performed as interludes between plays. A program may begin with an okina, which is essentially an invocation for peace and prosperity in dance form.
• Sayagata: the swastika is often found as part of a repeating pattern. One common pattern, called sayagata in Japanese, is made of of interlocking manji/swastikas, left- and right-facing swastikas joined by lines. As the negative space between the lines has a distinctive shape, the sayagata pattern is sometimes called the “key fret” motif in English.