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Title: Colour symbolism in the classical theatre of India,China and Japan
Authors: Rajakaruna, D.A.
Keywords: Theatre
Indian drama
Japanese drama
Chinese drama
Issue Date: 1993
Publisher: Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi
Abstract: Present study is about the make-up used in classical dance in India, China and Japan. Many colours were used to paint the face and body of the actors. Natyasastra has recommended different colours for different characters. Gold, white, red, yellow, reddish yellow and dark blue are the colours appropriate for actors representing gods on the stage. The following colours are used for different types of people: dark blue, reddish yellow and lotus colour for kings, reddish yellow for happy persons, brown for those who are engaged in cruel activities and plum colour for sages. The colours used for facial make-up in the Chinese theatre are red, blue, black, yellow, purple, white, gold and green. Colour plays a very important role in the costumes of the Chinese actor. Here, as elsewhere, colour is a symbol of character. Kabuki is the most popular form of classical theatre in Japan. The colour used for facial make-up for Japanese theatre are White is the colour of the facial make-up used for ladies and handsome young men green is used for ghosts and other evil spirits, black is used to stain the teeth of married women. A highly advanced technique of make-up is still practised in certain classical theatrical forms of India, China and Japan.
Appears in Collections:No.107 [Jan-March 1992]

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