Entertaining the Gods and Man: Japanese Dolls and the Theater

Alan Scott Pate

Entertaining the God and Man: Japanese Dolls and the Theater is a museum exhibition catalog published in 2012 by the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens to accompany the eponymous exhibition held between October 2012 and January 2013. This detailed book represents an introductory dive into the fascinating world of Japanese dolls (ningyô) and their connection with many aspects of traditional Japanese theater. Topics include puppetry (ningyô-jôruri), mechanical doll theater (karakuri-ningyô), hyper-realistic dolls (iki-ningyô) displayed in temporary exhibitions, dolls commemorative of kabuki theater (takeda-ningyô and ishô-ningyô) as well as Noh drama (nô-ningyô), and dolls related to politics or what might be considered political theater. The volume is lavishly illustrated with full-color photographs to help the reader travel into this unusual and little-explored corner of Japanese dolls. The text is further illuminated with selected woodblock prints and paintings. Though designed for an exhibition, the book serves as a useful guide into yet another chapter of ningyô.

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