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The Poetry of Kabuki: An Exhibition of Shijo Surimono
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.-The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago presets today The Poetry of Kabuki: An Exhibition of Shijo Surimono, on view through December 11, 2005. Celebrating the famous actors of the Kabuki stage of nineteenth-century Japan, the cultural elite of the day commissioned artists and publishers to create costly and intricate prints called surimono. In prints of the Shijo School in Osaka and Kyoto, the artist’s naturalistic image forms a frame surrounding elegant poems by literary societies of the time. While the Shijo surimono have not had nearly the attention and examination of their Edo (modern Tokyo) counterparts, these works shed light on the print culture of nineteenth-century Kyoto and Osaka and on the vital relationships between the stage and the print, words, and images, the poets and the stars of the stage, and the Kabuki star and his fans. And, as the examples in this exhibition amply display, they are distinguished by their imaginative patterns, striking color contrasts, and visually exciting designs. This exhibition consists of recent acquisitions to the Smart Museum collection. Curator: Hans Thomsen, University of Chicago Instructor of Japanese Art, in consultation with Richard A. Born, Smart Museum Senior Curator.

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