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Playful transformations: parody in ukiyo-e prints

Delve into the colourful world of Japanese theatre-inspired prints with Dr Ellis Tinios. Explore the parodies and puzzles in them that so entranced the print-buying public.

Dr Ellis Tinios will guide you through scenes from "Kanadehon Chūshingura". This popular play in the kabuki repertoire is a fruitful source of material for Japanese print artists. Learn about how those artists created unexpected links between dramatic moments in kabuki plays and humdrum moments in daily life.

Kabuki is a popular Japanese entertainment that combines dance, mime and drama. It is known for its stylish productions and the elaborate costumes and make-up worn by its performers. Between 1770 and 1870 most of the colour woodblock prints offered for sale in Japan were linked to current productions in the kabuki theatres of Edo (Tokyo).

Dr Ellis Tinios is Honorary Lecturer in History at the University of Leeds and Visiting Researcher at the Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University.

Image: View of a dramatic performance at the Three Theatres, 1770–1790. University of Leeds, Special Collections.