This is an exceptional one-of-a-kind oshie piece, a Japanese traditional wall decorative art form, depicting a scene from a Noh performance.
This oshie piece depicts a traditional Noh performance, a dramatic art form originating in 14th century Japan. Characters played by an all-male cast are differentiated by their iconic masks and convey their emotions primarily through stylized gestures and the codified use of props – most commonly an elaborately decorated folding fan. The young woman shown in this piece holds in one hand a gilded fan bearing a wisteria pattern, and a manuscript in the other. Close inspection reveals that the ink in the manuscript is running due to the tears she is shedding for what she has read.
Noh performers are typically dressed in the elaborate attire of Japan’s 15th and 16th century warrior class (samurai). Both men and women appear in multi-layers of heavily embroidered silk fabrics. Masks are worn by the main character only and are designed to leave part of the chin and throat uncovered to create a blurred confluence of the imagined and the real.
“Oshie” (literally, “pressed pictures”) is a traditional Japanese art form dating back to the Edo Period (1603-1868), and is said to have been born of the reluctance of the ladies of the court to discard the extraordinary silk kimonos and brocaded obi they had donned for a lifetime. The solution was to transform these opulent fabrics into stunning works of art.
Oshie resembles a beautifully crafted jigsaw puzzle consisting of numerous pieces of kimono fabric padded with slightly varied thickness of cotton and painstakingly glued and ironed together to create an astonishing three-dimensional effect.
This piece is the work of oshie artist Setsuko Matsuoka, who has been creating oshie pieces for decades. She only uses the best fabrics and very often vintage and antique kimono and obi fabrics to create an astonishing masterpiece. She recreates the works of Japan's most celebrated painters in oshie form.