BUNRAKU PUPPET THEATER.
An album, most likely from the 1920's, containing two colored woodcuts of costumed puppets and 17 mounted gelatin silver prints showing 40 traditional puppet heads used in the Bunraku theater. Each page is faced with mounted text in Japanese, and a previous owner has added tipped-in English translations. The text describes the character, notes moving parts, and the role each puppet plays. The photographs measure between 4 x 3 inches ( 102 x 76 mm.) and 5 1/2 x 4 inches ( 140 x 102 mm.). The first photograph is missing. Oblong octavo, 7 1/2 x 11 inches ( 191 x 279 mm.); beige boards with a torn, mounted Japanese woodcut on cover; string tie. (Item ID: 2799)
Bunraku is a blending of storytelling and puppetry - "possibly the most developed form of puppetry in the world," - www.japan-zone.com. First developed in Osaka in 1684, the art flowered during the eighteenth century and then lost favor until recent times. The puppets are large, usually about half life-size and the main characters are operated by three puppeteers. The main puppeteer, who manipulates the head, is seen on stage, generally dressed in bright robes, while his assistants wear black.