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Celebrating Kabuki – the popular 19th-century Japanese theatre tradition – this collection of lavish and dramatic woodblock prints includes several designs published for the first time.
Woodblock prints were a cheap and colourful medium of entertainment, much like magazines and posters today. Their visual style will be familiar to fans of Manga comics, Japanese cinema and even Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Publishing houses commissioned designs from the very greatest artists of the era, but the prints were affordable to the average person on the street.
In all, National Museums Scotland holds approximately 4,000 Japanese woodblock prints. These were acquired in the 1880s, at the peak of the craze for Japanese art and design in Europe (known as Japonisme). The collection is concentrated on the nineteenth century, the period of greatest expansion of the medium. The exhibition represents the finest examples in the collection and includes many precious and rarely seen examples.
Author Dr Rosina Buckland
Published for National Museums Scotland by NMS Enterprises Ltd –Publishing.
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