84. Cloth-beating moon (Kinuta no tsuki)

A scene from the Noh play Kinuta. A "kinuta" is a kind of fulling block on which cloth was beaten after starching, in order to remove wrinkles and restore its gloss. The sound of beating the kinuta is generally associated with autumn nightfall and loneliness. A woman, whose husband has spent three years away from home in the capital, hears that he cannot yet return as promised. Disappointment, loneliness, and hatred lead to her insanity, and ultimately to her death. Perhaps the repetitive sounds also foreshadow that her ghost eventually will attain peace through the power of the Lotus Sutra. The name Yugiri, mentioned in the cartouche, is that of the maid-servant sitting in the background. (printed April 1890)