#TBT: In 1971, Japanese Performers Brings Ancient Shinto Masked Dances to the United States

Each week, we’ll reach into Asia Society’s archives to find a photo from the organization’s nearly 60-year history. This week: A 1971 Asia Society performance series featured a “living cultural treasure” from Japan.

In 1971, Asia Society renewed its Performing Arts Program under a generous gift from philanthropist Lila Acheson Wallace, with a goal to enable “a wide-ranging representation of the rich, ancient traditions of Asia’s performing arts.” One of the first visitors commissioned by the program was the Edo Festival Music and Pantomime Group from Tokyo, hailed in Japan as “custodians and exponents of ancient Shinto traditions in masked dance and ritual music.” The group performed and gave lecture-demonstrations on 30 campuses across the United States, and also exhibited costumes, masks, and instruments associated with both comic and serious episodes in old Shinto ritual: http://asi.as/mH9R3Z

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