Kabuki Girl

Rusty  Gladdish

Swansea, United Kingdom

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  • Artist
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Wall Art


Artist's Description

I love all things Japanese and I’m fascinated by their culture. Especially their art and literature. I love Kabuki theatre too but have only seen it on TV. Last night after struggling with the conclusion of my story set in Japan, I drew and painted this lady who came unbidden into my imagination. The underpainting is acryrilic overpainted and drybrushed with oil paint straight from the tube.

Painted on circular board 40cms NOW SOLD!

[edit] 1603–1629: female kabuki
The history of kabuki began in 1603 when Okuni, a miko (young woman in the service of a Shinto shrine) of Izumo Taisha, began performing a new style of dance drama in the dry riverbeds of Kyoto. Female performers played both men and women in comic playlets about ordinary life. The style was instantly popular; Okuni was even asked to perform before the Imperial Court. In the wake of such success, rival troupes quickly formed, and kabuki was born as ensemble dance and drama was performed by women—a form very different from its modern incarnation. Much of its appeal in this era was due to the ribald, suggestive performances put on by many troupes; this appeal was further augmented by the fact that the performers were often also available for prostitution.1 For this reason, kabuki was also written “歌舞妓” (singing and dancing prostitute) during the Edo Period.

In kabuki’s nascent period , women were the only performers in the plays. Soon women began attracting the wrong types of audiences and gaining too much attention from men. This type of attention raised some eyebrows and officials felt as if women were degrading the art of kabuki. In 1629, women were banned from appearing in kabuki performances.

Young kabuki actors were often sought-after by townsmen who followed shudo.Since kabuki was already so popular, young male actors, known as wakashu, took over after women were banned from performing. These young men could take the role of women due to their less masculine appearance and higher pitched voices in comparison to adult men. Along with the change in the performers’ gender came a change in the emphasis of the performance: increased stress was placed on drama rather than dance. Their performances were equally ribald, however, and they too were available for prostitution (also to male customers). Audiences frequently became rowdy, and brawls occasionally broke out, sometimes over the favors of a particularly handsome young actor, leading the shogunate to ban young male actors in 1652.


All Products Tags

geisha japan kabuki noh plays theatre

Artwork Comments

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