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Showa Period (1926-1989)

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Taniguchi Masami, (1909–1964)
Awa Puppets: Midai, c. 1950
Ink on paper
10.2 x 7.7 in.

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Showa (Japan, 1926-1989)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2009.1.89

Alternate Title: Awa Ningyo: Midai

This puppet head would be used to represent an aristocratic woman or wife of an imperial court minister, an ama midaidokoro. Her facial expression is reserved, and her hairstyle is quite modest. This print is from a series documenting the famous puppets of Aawaji, an island in the Inland Sea, where the puppet theater is said to have begun over 500 years ago.
Prof. Bruce Coats

The Japanese puppet theater tradition, also called Ningyo joruri, is a complex performance art, with musicians playing a 3-string shamisen and sometimes drums, a single chanter who both narrates the plays and provides all the dialogue voices, and the puppet handlers. The puppets are large, about half to two-thirds life size, and are usually manipulated by 3 people: one for the head and right arm, one for the body and left arm, and one for the legs and feet. The puppeteers carefully coordinate their actions to give the puppets life like movements and expressions.
Prof. Bruce Coats

signed: "Taniguchi Masami (or Kunbi)" in pen on left margin
seal: artist's seal

Object Description
The head of bunraku puppet ,"Midai" (wife of shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi), in Awa province.

Carved and printed by artist.

see also: 2006.1.56

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