Karura, bugaku mask, lacquer and painted wood, 14th century; in the To Temple, Kyoto.—To-ji, Kyoto

Repertoire of stylized dances of the Japanese imperial court, derived from the traditional dance forms of China, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia. The dances are divided into two basic forms: “dances of the left” (saho no mai), accompanied by music derived from China, with dancers wearing red costumes; and “dances of the right” (uho samai no mai), accompanied by music introduced from Korea, with dancers wearing costumes of blue or green. The dancers wear elaborate masks of painted wood to portray fictional characters.

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