Wooden Noh mask, imported from Japan. Hight quality. Signed by the artist. This mask is real, it has been used in Noh theatre, and is a very difficult character to find. only for collectors.
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A noh mask *noumen 能面 used in the play YAMAUBA and representing an old woman, half demon, who roams the mountains. The enigmatic personality of Yamauba is apparent in the wide variety of masks used to represent the role. The gaunt features, wrinkled brow and pale coloring of the Houshou 宝生 school mask, attributed to the 15c. carver Tatsuemon 龍右衛門, presents a realistic portrayal of an old woman wise to suffering and very human. The ruddy, weather-beaten yamauba mask in the Mitsui 三井 Art Museum and attributed to the 15c. carver Tokuwaka 徳若 has a balance of power, wisdom and sensitivity in its strong, muscular cheeks, flashing eyes and fleshy lips. The Kanze 観世 school mask is a more elfin version of the Mitsui mask, with lighter coloring , more delicate features, but the same open energy and slightly bared teeth. The Kongou 金剛 school owns a mask attributed to the 15c. carver Shakuzuru 赤鶴 that appears demonic with bright vermilion flesh, and close-knit eyebrows hovering over protruding round eyes, yet has abstractly rendered wrinkles lining the cheeks and forehead to suggest old age. Finally the Umewaka 梅若 branch of the Kanze school owns a yamauba that emphasizes the demonic aspects of the role, being modeled on the serpent mask *ja 蛇, with a gaping, leering mouth dominating the lower half, a pointed nose, and large ears. Despite these wide variances, all the yamauba masks share having small, round metallic irises indicating demonic nature, and all but the Umewaka mask share the representation of hair and eyebrows with alternating lines of white and black, typifying an old woman.