tableau ˈta-ˌblō , ta-ˈblō noun
1. any dramatic scene
2. a group of models or motionless figures arranged as if in a painting
The word tableau has appeared in 96 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Dec. 17 in “There Are No Children Here. Just Lots of Life-Size Dolls” by Motoko Rich:
NAGORO, Japan — The last children were born in the remote mountain village of Nagoro 18 years ago.
Now, just over two dozen adults live in this outpost straddling a river on the Japanese island of Shikoku. The elementary school closed its doors in 2012, shortly after the last two students completed sixth grade.
But on a recent bright autumn Sunday, Tsukimi Ayano brought the school back to life.
It just so happened that she did it with dolls rather than humans.
Ms. Ayano, 70, had arrayed more than 40 handmade dolls in a lifelike tableau on the grounds of the shuttered school. Recreating a school sports day known as “undokai,” a staple of the Japanese calendar, she had posed child-size dolls in a footrace, perched on a swing set and tossing balls.