A large uchikake costume for 'ningyo' (puppet for Bunraku puppet theatre), consisting of appliqués placed on sections of a late Meiji or early Taisho kimono. The result is an almost life-size garment. Very good condition. 38” from sleeve-end to sleeve-end x 50” height. Bunraku, also known as Ningyō jōruri, is a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, founded in Osaka in 1684. The combination of chanting and shamisen playing is called jōruri and the Japanese word for puppet is ningyō. The large size of this puppet costume indicates that it is of the Awaji region tradition. All but the most minor characters in the play require three puppeteers, who perform in full view of the audience, generally wearing black robes. The costumes are designed by a costume master and are composed of a series of garments with varying colors and patterns. These garments typically include a sash and a collar as well as an under robe (juban), an inner kimono (kitsuke), a vest (haori) or an outer robe (uchikake) . In order to keep the costumes soft they are lined with cotton. As the clothing of the puppets wear out or are soiled the clothing is replaced by the puppeteers. The process of dressing or redressing the puppets by the puppeteers is called koshirae.