The blend of music, dance, acrobatics and fantastic costuming called Kabuki has been a major theatrical form in Japan for nearly 400 years. Their greatest artists depicted the famous Kabuki actors, and by the 19th century thousands of these woodblock prints were themselves a form of entertainment, much like magazines and posters came to be in our modern age.
As the craze for Japanese art and design in Europe peaked in the 19th century, National Museums Scotland was able to acquire about 4,000 of these splendid prints. They are by Japan's most celebrated artists - all of whom are represented in this book - Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuninao, Utagawa Toyokuni, Utagawa Kuniyasu, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Hokuei, Kunisada II, Toyohara Kunichika, and Adachi Ginkō.
It was published to coincide with an exhibition that opened in October of 2013 in Scotland and collectors of Japanese art as well as the general public will be enthralled by the images, most of which have never been seen before.