Theatre of dreams, theatre of play: Nō and kyōgen in Japan
written by Khanh Trinh
Art Gallery of NSW | ISBN 9781741741063
Paperback – 236 pages
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Dating from the 15th to early 20th century, 160 works from the rich material culture of Japanese nō and kyōgen theatre (nōgaku) – including masks and costumes as well as paintings, musical instruments and libretti – have been selected from the collections of the National Noh Theatre, Tokyo and the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan.
A program of nō theatre generally consists of one or two nō plays with a kyōgen interlude. Both theatre forms deal with the multitude of human emotions, but while nō is a more dream-like pursuit of an ideal beauty to portray the essence of human nature, kyōgen strives for realistic expression through humour. The beauty and elegance that pervades the world of nō and the spirited, playful mood that characterise kyōgen plays are echoed in the masks and costumes, which distinguish nōgaku from other forms of traditional Japanese performing arts.
The objects in this book represent Japan’s unique aesthetic sensibility and the excellence of its traditional arts and crafts. The splendour of the masks, robes and paintings invites viewers to appreciate and better understand these complex and sumptuous worlds.
Edited by Khanh Trinh with essays by Monica Bethe, Eric C Rath, J Thomas Rimer, Mikio Takemoto and Khanh Trinh