noubutai 能舞台
KEY WORD : architecture / general terms
A noh stage. A stage originally constructed for outdoor performances of *nou 能, a type of play expressed through vocal and instrumental music, stylized dance and drama enacted to achieve an aesthetic through symbolism rather than realism. The stage is also used for the comic interlude called kyougen 狂言. According to some scholars, the noubutai was not roofed until the first half of the 20c. The presentation of nou began in the 14c but the oldest extant nou stage, a typical example, is preserved at Nishihonganji 西本願寺 (1581) in Kyoto. Nou was originally thought to have been performed as a fund raising event, the funds to be used for pious purposes. The standard main stage honbutai 本舞台, is still used today and is 3-bays (5.7m) square with square or slightly rectangular posts at each corner of the stage. At the left rear corner is the shitebashira 仕手柱, the main actor's post. At the front left corner is the guide post *metsukebashira 目付柱. The post at the right front corner is called the *daishinbashira 大臣柱 or wakibashira 脇柱, and is the supporting actor's post. At the rear right corner is the *fuebashira 笛柱 (flute post). These posts guide the actors whose vision is limited by their masks. Behind the shitebashira is a second post called *koukenbashira 後見柱 or kyougenbashira 狂言柱 (the comic interlude post). At the rear of the stage, a stylized pine tree is painted on the wood paneling. Along the right side of the stage there is an extension called the jiutaiza 地謡座 or wakiza 脇座 where the chorus is seated. The musicians sit at the rear of the main stage on the atoza 後座. From the rear left side of the stage, a passageway running diagonally to the mirror room *kagami-no-ma 鏡の間, called the hashigakari 橋掛り, allows the actors to enter the stage at a slow pace. Its length is not fixed. Three small pines set in white gravel along its side mark its boundary. Originally, an area under the floor of the stage was deeply excavated and a unique method of support for the stage was built. The stage was constructed on heavy joists *neda 根太, set 60cm apart. Base stones, struts *tsuka 束, or sleepers *jifuku 地覆 were not used. Jars, two under the atoza and three under the hashigakari were positioned under the floor in an effort to control sound. Only cypress wood, polished with natural oil extracted from the cypress tree, was used for the stage.


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