oumuseki 鸚鵡石
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A book containing excerpts from *kabuki 歌舞伎 plays, used by amateur actors for recitation practice. A type of *kusazoushi 草双紙. They were published from the 17c to 19c, primarily in Edo. Originally, books of lines from a play were called serifuzukushi せりふ尽し (speeches from various plays) but became more commonly called oumuseki (parrot rock) after the 1770's. The term originated when an Osaka man used the comparison of oumu-ishi (a different reading of the characters for oumuseki) or parrot rock in different provinces to explain the gestures, bodily movements and vocal characteristics of the actors. The parrot rock was a formation of stones which would cause ones words to echo (ie. as a parrot talks). In the earliest examples, the cover *hyoushi 表紙 only included a title, but eventually actor portraits *yakusha-e 役者絵 designed by *Toriiha 鳥居派 artists began to appear. Later, *Utagawaha 歌川派 artists also designed the covers. Oumuseki are useful resources for the study of actor portraiture and costumes.


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