Fascinating study of geisha, courtesans, kabuki performers as portrayed by masters of Japanese art from 1600 to 1868.
From Publishers Weekly:
This exotic catalogue of a touring exhibition opening at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts features more than 200 reproductions, mostly in color, of paintings and woodblock prints depicting courtesans and geisha of Japan's licensed prostitution districts during the Edo period (1600-1868). Swinton, the museum's curator of Asian art, in her introductory essay explores the ideal of the "floating world" associated with the women of the pleasure quarters-a metaphor of freedom and of living for the moment, exalted in novels, guidebooks and prints. Anthropologist Liza Dalby looks at the isolated lives of high-class prostitutes who found a route out of poverty. Kazue Edamatsu Campbell, a Japanese-language specialist at Boston University, decodes the artificial style of speech used by courtesans. Mark Oshima, an expert on Kabuki theater, explains how the pleasure quarter-a veritable pressure cooker of desire, greed, love and pride-provided grist for Kabuki plays, and he focuses on male actors (onnagata) who specialized in female roles, projecting a soft, cultured ideal of femininity.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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