The popular form of traditional theatre in Japan, known as kabuki, combines drama, music and dance and is presented on spectacular stage settings in lavish costumes. In 19th-century Japan people eagerly acquired pictures of their favourite actor in the latest play. These woodblock prints were a cheap and colourful medium of entertainment, much like magazines and posters today. Thousands of designs were issued every year. This is the catalogue for the first-ever exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints at the National Museum of Scotland (4 October 13 – 2 February 14). This book contains an introductory essay explaining the themes of the exhibition and detailed entries on 61 works, with information on actors, roles and the play being performed. The majority of the works have never been published.
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