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Puppets of Nostalgia

by Jane Marie Law

ISBN 069102894X / 9780691028941 / 0-691-02894-X
Publisher Princeton University Press
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

This work examines the ritual origins and religious dimesions of puppetry in Japan. It describes the life, death and rebirth of "awaji ningyo shibai", the unique form of puppet theatre of Awaji Island that has existed since the 16th century. Puppetry rites on awaji helped to maintain rigid purity codes and to keep dangerous spiritual forces properly channelled and appeased. Law conducted fieldwork on Awaji, located in Japan's Inland Sea, over a ten-year period. In addition to being an history and ethnography of this ritual tradition, the book is, at a theoretical level, a study of the process and meaning of tradition formation, reformation, invention and revitalization. It describes the activities of the island's ritual puppeteers and includes an English translation of their performance texts and detailed description of their rites. [via]