Shrine Mask

Japan

12" by 8.75" (30.5 cm x 22 cm)

DESCRIPTION

A masterly carved cypress wood Shrine mask used in Shinto Festival ceremonies, most likely of an old man or foreigner.  While this mask has a size format of the ancient Gigaku masks (7th and 8th centuries), and would fit under the chin to the top of the hairline, it is definitely not one of these. It is also not one of the Bugaku mask iconic representations and does not fit any Bugaku style mask.
     

What is unique about Shrine masks more than any other type of Japanese mask is that while they have general names such as Oni (demon), old men, dragon, etc., they do not follow a strict iconography. Finding two or more masks that look relatively similar or almost identical is extremely rare in shrine masks, and they are always Shinto in use.   (Courtesy of Jerry Solomon)

CONDITION

Provenance

Ex Collection of Charles Smith, University of Washington

DATE

19th century or earlier

Dimensions

12" by 8.75" (30.5 cm x 22 cm)

PRICE

4200

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