Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
The Noh play The Stone Bridge
woodblock printed on gold paper, sealed in purple kanji at upper right, Bin-ni, with date seal Heisei kyu nen (Heisei 9 ), signed and titled in purple kanji at lower right, Shakkyo, and signed in English, Paul Binnie A/P
dai oban tate-e 16 1/2 by 12 1/4 in., 41.8 by 31 cm
This composition depicts an actor wearing a shishiguchi (lit. lion mouth) mask from the Noh play Shakkyo (The Stone Bridge). This is the first woodblock print Binnie published depicting the Noh theater, though he crafted a number of paintings of Noh in the 1990s. Unlike kabuki, which was full of motion and action, Noh plays tended to be less physically dynamic. They often employed intricate and heavy costumes, and could have actors standing in a pose and speaking for long stretches of time. This scene, however, includes a unique shishimari, or lion dance, which was a very skill-intensive performance requiring special movements and heightened expressiveness. For this reason, Shakkyo is classified as a hiraki-mono, a ceremonial performance in Noh theater which demonstrates the elevation of a performer to a high level of achievement. Because Shakkyo is a uniquely accessible piece, it is often performed to entertain foreign dignitaries and others unfamiliar with the theater tradition.
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 85, no. 43
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
February 24, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...