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Kabuki is one of the oldest forms of Japanese traditional theater. Born at the beginning of the Edo period, this theatrical genre, still very much alive today, is based on a repertoire of formalized plays, written specifically or adapted from the Noh theater, traditional stories or, more particularly, the Bunraku puppet theater.
In those performances given by male actors only, the onnagata, specialized in female roles, are worshipped by the Japanese public. The costumes, extravagant in their design, sumptuous in the selection of their decors and fabrics and richly colored are crucial.
They follow very specific symbolic patterns, revealing, by their aspect only, a charachter's personality.
Displaying the finest Kabuki costumes along with their accessories, illustrated by ancient Japanese woodblock prints and photographs of actors, this catalogue is a tribute to this particular genre of drama, that raises theater and dance to their highest level.
It has been published for the exhibition Kabuki - Japanese theater costumes featured at the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent.