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Kabuki 歌舞伎

Kabuki 歌舞伎. The 19th Century Japanese Ukiyo-e” will be held at the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE (Doma laukums 6, Riga) featuring the actors of kabuki theatre in coloured woodblock prints or ukiyo-e from Japan’s Edo period. The works are from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art. Sword fights and other tense subjects, ghosts, human-size rats, expressive make-up and gestures emphasizing the emotions of the actors, and colourful costumes are only a small part of the world that can be viewed in the works of this exhibition. It is life as performed by kabuki actors, in Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868).

There are about 380 exhibits in the collection of Japanese graphics at the Latvian National Museum of Art, with the largest number being ukiyo-e – a genre of graphics, which can be literally translated as the “pictures of the floating world”. Ukiyo-e masters mainly portrayed kabuki theatre actors, beautiful women, sumo wrestlers, warriors, scenes from history and folk tales, travelling scenes, landscapes, nature and animals, as well as works of erotic nature. In this way, they revealed the energy-filled popular culture of the Edo period, which flourished in the largest Japanese cities. The works in the museum collection mostly relate to the kabuki theatre theme.

Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theatre which was created and developed in the Edo period and combined singing, music, dance and drama. Along with the noh and bunraku theatres, kabuki is recognized as one of the three main forms of classical Japanese theatreand is included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Kabuki initially developed as a theatre which expressed the interests of the middle class or merchants with the actors developing their performances on everyday themes, historical events and the resolution of moral ethical issues. The portrayals by the Kabuki theatre actors were the most highly demanded among the fans of the ukiyo-e artists and actors.

The works of three productive and commercially successful artists from the 19th century can be seen at the exhibition – Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞, 1786–1865), who was also one of the leading trendsetters in his field, Kunisada’s student and active portrayer of kabuki actors, Toyohara Kunichika (豊原国周, 1835–1900) and Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳, 1797–1861), one of the last great Japanese ukiyo-e masters.

In connection with the spread of Covid-19 in the world and in Latvia, we call for responsibility and precautionary measures.  

Please do not visit the museum if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, certain self-isolation, home quarantine or strict isolation. The museum has the right to deny entry to the museum to persons with signs of respiratory infection and to invite them to leave the museum. The museum is only open to individual visitors and groups of visitors (members of the same household), in accordance with the rules in force for gatherings and public events. 

LNMM museums have a maximum number of visitors who can be in the buildings at the same time - 50 in the Latvian National Museum of Art, 45 in the Art Museum RIGA Bourse, 25 in the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design. 

Please observe a distance of 2 meters from other visitors and museum staff, follow the information in the visual instructions and audio announcements, as well as follow the instructions of the museum staff. We invite you to make contactless payments or use payment cards, as well as invite you to register in the Mobilly app and conveniently buy tickets by phone.