Entry by David Ali: Kabuki Actor, ca. 1700

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Kabuki actor

Full description

This is a small figure made in circa 1700 AD depicting a contemporary kabuki actor. It doesn’t seem to reference any specific actor of the time but is meant to be a general representation to show Europeans. This is a rare piece for its time in which it involves the culturally isolated Japanese known for having a locked off country actually exporting culture. This statue was created during the EDO period in which the nation itself did not interact much with others, especially Europeans. But this is a rarity depicting something of quintessential Japanese culture being in the possession of Europeans, kabuki. Due to the hedonistic lifestyle present in cultural and economic capitals like Tokyo kabuki theatre became extremely popular as the arts did. It is an overly fanciful over the top theater art. Kabuki involves garish costumes as depicted with this figure. It is approximately 12 inches in height and made of porcelain. It is painted with multiple colors while primarily being a Snow White. It is designed wearing a kimono with illustrations of Japanese tree leaves, Sakura petals, all that are mostly foreign to Europeans. It is a beautiful rendition of a cultural behemoth in Japan, meant for consumption by Europeans.

Author: David Ali

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  • type
  • created on
  • file format
  • file size
    483 KB
  • creator
    Japanese, for European market
  • credit
  • rights
    Public Domain
  • rights holder
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art