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Reviews525 ness of the study. Riley includes it to illustrate the existence of a 3-2-1 formulaic pattern in the Dejiang version of the Luo matrix as seen and heard in Dejiang nuo theater. According to Riley, the 3-2-1 pattern is recreated by the large gong of the percussion section. Unfortunately, none of the three musical lines in Diagram 54 are labeled with instrument names. In other words, the reader does not know which part is that of the large gong. Assuming that the bottom line belongs to the large gong (since the lowest pitched instrument would normally occupy the lowest staff), there is still not compelling evidence to support that the line is heard as a 3-2-1 pattern. For such a pattern to be established, we would need more than one repetition—thus pointing to the occurrence of a pattern. As is so often the case in this book, we are presented with very compelling material, but Riley falls short of tying it altogether into a convincing and tightly- constructed argument. Chinese Theatre and the Actor in Performance is an extremely ambitious work that reaches across great expanses of time, physical distance, and performance genre (including varieties of ritual activity) in presenting its "deep" reading of Chinese theatrical performance. There is no other work ofwhich I am aware that attempts to make such direct connections between the highly refined Peking opera and both ancient and modern ritual knowledge and practice. Riley's insights and theories are intriguing and hopefully will serve as a launching point for further study. NANCY GUY University ofCalifornia, San Diego Susan Verdi Webster. Art and Ritual in Golden-Age Spain: Sevillian Confraternities and the Processional Sculpture of Holy Week. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998. Pp. xxii + 298 + 12 plates; 55 illus. $55.00. "For nearly five centuries in towns all across Spain and Latin America, penitential confraternities—groups of laity devoted to particular aspects or moments of the Passion—have commemorated the Passion of Christ by staging elaborate public processions during Holy Week. Day and night, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, files of hooded penitents carrying life-size sculptural tableaux wend through city streets, re-enacting the Passion as a public, ritual expiation ofsins" (4). In this carefully argued and lavishly illustrated book, art historian Susan Verdi Webster examines the history and current status of the 526Comparative Drama best-known ofthese Easter processions, that of Seville. Her starting point is the conviction that "processional sculpture exhibits] physical and formal characteristics that identifTy] it as a distinct sculptural genre, differentiable from all other types of sculpture." Scholarly failure to take into account the "distinctive ritual function" of these images, Webster believes, has meant that they have been largely misunderstood by scholars and that "as aesthetic objects they have frequently been denigrated" (6-7). As a particularly graphic example of such misunderstanding, Webster cites the British scholar Albert Calvert, who wrote of one of the Sevillian sculptures, "The face has splendid dignity. But the statue has been disfigured by the barbarous custom of dressing the figure in elaborate robes entirely out of harmony with the subject. Nobody sees the figure as it originally was, vigorously carved, and wearing nothing but a loin-cloth." Unlike Calvert, Webster has seen the statue of Jesus del Gran Poder unclothed. She points out that only the head, feet, and hands ofthe image are fully rendered and that "the summarily carved torso and tubular, articulated arms were never intended to be visible" (9). To assume that the popular custom of dressing the processional sculpture concealed the sculptor's nobler vision of a classically carved near-nude is to miss the point entirely . The statue was intended, from the outset, to be as lightweight as possible, to be clothed, and to be viewed in procession. In five chapters, Webster examines the confraternities that commissioned the life-size wooden statues and still carry them in procession ; the sculptures themselves; the costumes in which the images are dressed and the "elaborate stage-sets" (129) on which they are carried; the ritual context of the Holy Week processions; and the public response of Holy Week audiences. Sometimes the main argument...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 525-528
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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