Past Exhibitions

Costumes Used in Japanese Performing Arts
July 27, 2016 - August 28, 2016

Japanese performance traditions such as Bugaku and Noh came down through history under the auspices of elite patrons, who provided them with luxurious costumes made from the finest textiles. Bugaku (court dances) and its accompanying court music (Gagaku) were brought into Japan from East Asia in ancient times and performed ceremonially in the imperial court, temples, and shrines. Bugaku dances and music fall into two types: Dances of the Left, from China, require primarily red costumes; Dances of the Right, derived from Korea, typically use green costumes. Noh actors, often masked and cloaked in lavishly patterned robes, perform the usually slow-paced plays accompanied by musicians and a chorus. The Noh theater dates to the Muromachi period (1392–1573) and became an important form of ceremony for the military gentry during the Edo period (1615–1868).

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