Note card Nakamura Daizaburo's "Hanamori"
Nakamura Daizaburo (Japanese, 1898–1947)

A still and solitary female figure stands holding a brushwood broom in the pale light of a full moon. Flower petals, small and pink, fall to her feet. The straight and curving shapes of her robe and surcoat are executed in long, continuous lines of extraordinary grace and linear tension. The malachite green in the coat and the robe's gray-beige are subtly muted but made vivid by a luminous wash of gold, first seen as the bright paint of sharp leaves in a pattern of mottled bamboo. Gold not only highlights the woman's clothing, but its almost imperceptible line adds a radiant aura to her profile. The refined structure of the woman's face and her skin's smooth texture convey a purity and composure at odds with her great mass of disheveled black hair.

In classical Noh drama, characters with wild and unkempt hair are tragic figures driven insane by misfortune. As in all traditional theater, male actors played both men's and women's parts. The tragedies of crazed women were called kyojomono and typically featured actors wearing large and wildly shaggy wigs. The part of the beauty in the painting is depicted as was played on stage, that is to say, by a maskless, male actor. The longish nose and full jaw, though softened by make-up, are masculine features made apparent only by the subtle skill of the artist. The depiction of such distinguishing physiognomy suggests that Daizaburo painted this work and other Noh characters as portraits of actors in their theatrical roles.

Box of ten 5 x 7" note cards with envelopes.

Item #012631