Circus Samurai

A picture is worth a thousand words!  The first image is from the 1920s. The one below it is from a tour of Germany around 1900 I think.   What have I been saying?  Asian martial arts have been presented and conceptualized as performance from the beginning.  

This came from Joseph Svinth who I had the great pleasure of meeting in Portland!

Here are some more awesome pictures along these lines from the National Museum of Japanese History.

And I just picked up this book below, which has great pictures too. Including one of Winged Tengu acrobatics. Tengu, is usually translated goblin, but they are in fact the Japanese version of Chinese Thunder Gods. The Japanese version tend to have long noses instead of beaks. They are credited with having taught the Samurai swordsmanship. But these particular acrobats use their long very noses to do acrobatic tricks. 

From the british museum. Click here for link