Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Nobunaga in the Art of Tsujimura Jusaburo

As usual, while conducting random researches on Google, I stumbled upon something worth a short post.

Tsujimura Jusaburo is one of those Japanese artisans whose work can't do anything but leave you breathless, a wonderful, creative mix of tradition and revolution, East and West, all of it topped with a love for the precious detail that couldn't help your eyes getting wet with inspiration.
Tsujimura-sensei was born on 1933. He became a professional dollmaker at the age of 27, but only on 1996 he found a special place in Tokyo, in the Ningyocho (no place would be more appropriate, with such a toponomy!), to open his theatre-museum where he still exhibits his skills as an artesan, performer and theatre artist.

Among the many beautiful dolls and puppets, it can be spotted that Nobunaga was worth a good number of dolls!
I wonder if this pick has something to do with Tsujimura-sensei's fancy for antagonists-- “I think villains or bad characters have a strong energy that other types of characters do not possess. I sense some kind of power in them,” he said. “Good characters are good no matter who is judging them, and I see nothing interesting about them.”

Above you can see the puppets that Tsujimura-sensei dedicated to the figure of Nobunaga. I displayed them in chronological order, so to give you an idea of the developement of the characters in the eyes of the artist.
The first portrait is dated 1991, it's a beautiful, austere rendition of one of the Saneiketsu ("The Three Great Unifiers"), adorned by a beautiful haori embroidered with a charming design of red momiji; the second piece is dated 1997, and we can see Nobunaga dressed as a courtman while holding a stick in his hand, maybe a reference to the precious Rajantai?, his eyes wandering in the distance, looking for a proof of the vanity of existence; the third rendition is probably my favourite, Nobunaga in his Nanban Shouzoku ("Western Clothes"), guarded and amused by two dark skinned boys-- He looks like a demon in disguise, followed by his naughty minions!
Fourth and last tribute, Nobunaga during his final moments at Honnoji, a scream suffocated by copious rivulets of blood, his eyes white with uncosciousness as his body stretches, in an attempt to get free from the pain, or to hurl a curse at an apathetic Mitsuhide...This last piece is quite theatrical, and you can get from it the variegated skills of Tsujimura-sensei.

In case this sort post made you curious about this extraordinary artist, here you can find a direct link to the website of his museum, and here the official photo blog dedicated to him, from where I took the original pictures that I used for this post.

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