In multiethnic and multicultural Asia, the diversity of theatrical productions and the abundant expressiveness they relate to audiences contribute to the creation of a rich theatrical world. The characteristics of each of the performing arts utilised to tell the story and the various cultural interpretations of the work ensure that the characters appearing in each region’s staging of Three Kingdoms are of infinite variety.
In this exhibition, we have placed each of the exhibition rooms—which can be thought of as ‘stages’—in a sort of competition with each other to allow visitors to gain an understanding of the characteristics and charms of the characters of Three Kingdoms as portrayed in each theatrical context. We have gathered costumes, dolls and puppets, colour woodblock prints (nishiki-e), and a variety of other objects carefully selected from the museum’s collection to show visitors the appeal of the heroes of Three Kingdoms that appear in productions staged in Japan, China, and Taiwan.
Particular attention has been paid to the women who appear in Three Kingdoms. Our aim is to shed light on the heroines who led unique lives in the shadow of fierce battles fought mainly by men. These women include Diaochan（貂蝉）, who was utilised in the Lian Huan Ji（連環計 Interlocking Stratagems） of the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms; Lady Sun (孫尚香 Sun,Shangxiang), who was both wise and courageous; and Lady Mi（糜夫人）, who gave her life to protect the son of Liu Bei（劉備）. Our aim is to show how their dignified personalities are a glowing presence on stage.
I hope that visitors will find that this exhibition provides a multifaceted view of Three Kingdoms.