Nuihaku, a Noh Costume for the Roles of Young Women
(Nuihaku, Kohakudan kusabana tanzaku yatsuhashimoyo)

A nuihaku is a kimono adorned with embroidered patterns and gold and silver leaf. The nuihaku that we introduce this time is made from squares of red and white cloth bearing diverse embroidered motifs such as seasonal plants and flowers. There was originally gold and silver leaf in the spaces between. This gorgeous garment conveys distinctive design features of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and is believed to have been made for a lady of high status before later being used as a costume in the Noh theatre. Japan’s distinctive Noh theatre was loved by powerful samurai lords and none more so than Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the man who unified Japan at the end of the 16th century. He didn’t only command Noh performances but also took to the stage himself. Judging from the crests spread across the pattern, it is thought that this nuihaku may have come from Hideyoshi’s own house.