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Bugaku Masks

Nishikawa, Kyotaro; translated and adapted by Monica Bethe

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ISBN 10: 0870113127 / ISBN 13: 9780870113123
Published by Kodansha (1978), New York, 1978
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Eureka Books, ABAA (Eureka, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Japanese Arts Library series. 194 pages. 25 color and 150 black-and-white plates. The first book devoted solely to Bugaku masks. First edition (first printing). Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 139418

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Bugaku Masks

Publisher: Kodansha (1978), New York

Publication Date: 1978

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

This work breaks new ground: it is the first in either English or Japanese to be devoted solely to Bugaku masks. The enterprise is easily justified, for the best of these masks are masterpieces of sculpture, ranking in beauty and expressiveness with those of Africa and India. Bugaku masks are worn in an ancient Japanese dance-drama that evolved in the 9th century, when dances imported in earlier times from other East Asian regions were combined and modified to suit Japanese tastes. This elegant dance-drama, called Bugaku, is still performed today, little changed from when it was a favorite pastime of the 10th-century Heian court. The masks themselves are thought to be the stylized and Japanized descendants of those masks -none of which survive-brought over with the original dances. Many of the outstanding Bugaku masks date from the 11th and 12th centuries and were made in the cultural centers, chiefly Kyoto. As Bugaku slowly lost its court patronage in the following two centuries, the musicians and dancers moved to the provinces, where the masks were modified and new forms emerged. From the 17th to 19th centuries Bugaku experienced a revival, and masks equal in technique and style to the best work of earlier periods resulted. Refined or dynamic, grotesque or eloquent-the great range and artistic excellence of Bugaku masks are exemplified by those shown on the back of the jacket. The 12th-century mask on the front jacket exhibits one feature unique among Japanese masks- eyes and chin that sway to the rhythm of the dancer's movements and bring the mask alive. This and other devices are described and illustrated in a chapter on the technical aspects of mask-making. Inscriptions on masks and the few known carvers are also discussed, as well as the relationship of Bugaku masks to other types of Japanese mask. A concise yet comprehensive treatment of all facets of the subject, this volume is amply illustrated with over 25 color and 150 black-and-white plates.

Language Notes:

Text: English, Japanese (translation)

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