Fall 2007 Exhibition

Ueda Tekko, Noh and Kyogen Masks
Ueda Tekko
Noh and Kyogen Masks
Hanging scroll
[Clark Family Collection]

Dances and Masks:
Art of the Noh Theater

September 5 – December 1, 2007

The Clark Center's fall exhibition presents an exploration of the arts of the Noh theater and the place of Noh in Japanese art and culture. Formalized in the fourteenth century, Noh is Japan's oldest surviving form of dramatic art, and developed out of sacred, ritual performances at shrines and temples. Incorporating visual arts, music, dance, poetry, narrative chanting, religious and literary themes, Noh is a high art that draws together and informs various other arts. Master craftsmen produced exquisite Noh masks of various types that could subtly change expression with a tilt of the head; weavers of silk reserved their finest work for the gorgeous kimono worn by actors on an otherwise relatively bare stage. The very word Noh means "talent", and Noh drama is the display of refinement and control in every aspect of production and performance.

The exhibit at the Clark Center brings together the arts of the Noh stage (masks and textiles), together with paintings and prints that depict the elements of performance, actors in role, the stories of the plays, the five types of plays and the place of Noh as a body of symbols in Japanese culture. A separate interlude in the exhibit presents kyōgen, the comic plays presented between the acts of noh dramas, also performed by masked and costumed actors. Most of the art works in the exhibit will be from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period when noh received a second life as a public, rather than privately patronized, type of performance, with Kamisaka Sekka and Tsukioka Kōgyo as featured artists. Other artists include Shibata Zeshin, Kawanabe Kyōsai, Sakai Hōitsu, Watanabe Nangaku, Ueda Tekko, Matsumura Goshun, Teisai Hokuba and Satō Hodai.

Kamisaka Sekka, Okina
Kamisaka Sekka
From the album 'One thousand grasses'
Polychrome woodblock print

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 1 – 5 pm. Closed on national holidays and during the month of August.
Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for students with valid ID. Children 12 and under free.
Weekly docent tours are held Saturdays at 1 pm and guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Center in advance at (559) 582-4915.