Noh mask gaijin change of roles - Oinari, Fox Spirit, God of Japan, Photo Dictionary of.


ABOVE. Tanuki arriving from afar (he carries a suitcase) to view the famed cherry blossoms of Ōtsu. The character for Tanuki 狸 is written on the fan he carries. But his visit disturbs the tranquility of two beauties who are already there. If we recall, one of Tanuki’s chief delights is to annoy people. This scroll painting is very clever. FIRST, it clearly references Saigyō Hōshi 西行法師 (1118 – 1190), one of the great masters of tanka poems and a Buddhist monk whose life became the subject of many narratives. Saigyōzakura 西行桜  (lit. = Monk Saigyō's Cherry Tree) is a Noh play by the famed Zeami 世阿弥 (1363-1443), wherein Saigyō decides to remain alone in the garden of his hermitage (not far from Kyoto), where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. These blossoms are reputed to be the most beautiful anywhere, so eventually travelers from afar come to the hermitage and request permission to view them, thereby disturbing Saigyō's retreat and causing him to write a poem blaming the blossoms for the arrival of the travelers. He eventually lets them in, for he realizes that no matter where he goes, he cannot escape the world of sorrows. The problem is not the “world” but what’s “within you.” SECOND, the painting also clearly references Ōtsu City and the Ōtsu Matsuri Festival. Ōtsu was an oft-visited post town on the Tōkaidō 東海道 road, at the tip of Lake Biwa 琵琶 in Ōmi 近江 province (present-day Shiga prefecture), not far from Kyoto. In April, the cherry blossoms of Ōtsu attract huge crowds from around the country. In the fall, the Ōtsu Matsuri Festival brings similar crowds. THIRD, Tanuki often shape-shift into beautiful women to deceive people. This scroll painting incorporates all three themes. See brief modern analysis of the Noh drama Saigyo Zakura by Sasha Maggio (June 9, 2010).

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Noh Mask Gaijin Change Of Roles

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