Entry by Elian Ortiz: Kabuki Actor

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Kabuki Actor

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This piece of art, sculpted in porcelain is a representation of a Kabuki Actor. Kabuki Theater is a Japanese form of performance, since the 1600’s. This sculpture is a representation of the art, showing an actor, probably during a performance. We can observe the figure’s colorful clothes and distinctive makeup, which are a good representation of kabuki theater; this being distinguished by having the actors put on heavy makeup that shows their character and intentions. In this case, the actor has no visible marks on his face, only white, which could mean that the character was in a neutral state during this performance, or had been in a less dramatic play. However, the actor is wearing red, which in Japanese and Kabuki Theater is a sign of heroism or well intentioned role, in a specific situation and perspective of the play. We can also observe the embroidered cherry blossom branches on the figure’s garment; cherry blossom branches often represent nobleness and human life. It’s easy to convey that this is a noble character, with good morals, not only represented by the branches but also by the red on its beautiful garment. The figure seems to have very neutral facial expressions, which leads me to think that the actor is rather posing for the sculpture, or maybe listening to another character than being in the middle of performing an action.

Author: Elian Ortiz

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    Public Domain
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    The Metropolitan Museum