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Ashmolean Exhibition: KABUKI KIMONO: Costumes of Bandō Tamasaburō V

Ashmolean Museum
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Beaumont Street Oxford Oxfordshire OX1 2PH

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Six spectacular kimonos belonging to the kabuki actor Bandō Tamasaburō V will be on display in the Textiles Gallery for a year. Tamasaburō is the most popular and celebrated onnagata (male actor who performs female roles) currently on stage.

The costumes selected reflect the wide variety of roles in this actor’s long and celebrated theatre career, from court ladies and courtesans to geisha and demons.  

You’ll see beautifully crafted costumes that showcase a range of elaborate textile techniques, including weaving, dyeing, embroidery and hand-painting. 

The over-robe for the courtesan Agemaki in the play Sukeroku, Flower of Edo (助六由縁江⼾桜), shown below, was worn at a performance in June 2004 at the Kabukiza Theatre, Tokyo. It features New Year’s decorations on black satin and the courtesan’s sash has a carp ascending a waterfall embroidered on a pale blue-green satin ground.