The Tokugawa Collection: Noh Robes and Masks by Tokugawa Yoshinobu

The Japanese robes in this exhibition catalogue can be seen as exquisite textiles-tapestries for the body that need no history to inform the viewer of their importance as art. Japanese people often attribute personality traits to people from particular regions and positions within society (i.e., Fuyu no so [nobility], gentry, farmers, artisans, and merchants), and regional identity often is expressed through their clothing, and is the basis for costume in the Noh theatre.

Noh or Nagaku is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed throughout Japan since the 14th century. Many characters are masked and wear exceptional period clothing, with men playing male and female roles. Noh theatre continues to this day and is an art form unique to Japan with little exhibited abroad.

This catalogue is written by Tokugawa Yoshinobu and Okochi Sadao, and fully illustrates the 145 objects in the exhibition. The catalogue also contains an extensive glossary of terms and annotated bibliography. It is the first comprehensive treatment of the famed Tokugawa Collection in English. The book is soft cover and in very good condition. It’s original cardboard slipcover shows minimal wear for its age. Dated: 1976.

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