Feature for October, 1998

MASKS

picture of feature


Noh is a highly stylized song and dance performance perfected in the mid-14th century in Japan. Kyogen originated around the same time. Actors perform the drama wearing masks. The Noh drama centers around themes such as spirituality, love and revenge. In contrast, Kyogen offers comic relief and satirical humor. Kyogen is performed between the acts of Noh performances.

The Noh stage is a simple stage with almost no decorations. However, the costumes are very elaborate. The color and pattern combinations of fabrics have been refined over the centuries into a work of art.

Most Noh masks are completely expressionless, displaying no emotions. Emotions of the character are displayed by the actor's motions, allowing him the freedom to display delicate emotions. The demon is an exception it shows very evil expression.

Masks are carved from cypress and then painted. Many masks are masterpieces, and have been passed down from generation to generation, over hundreds of years. While artisans attempted to produce duplicate masks, each mask has slight differences. Most of the masterpiece masks show cracks, stains, warping, and discolorations. On stage, the blemishes become indistinguishable and the beauty of the masterpieces can be seen.

The main actor (Shite) is a grown man. He plays many roles including elderly men, young women, elderly women, gods, ghosts and animals. The Shite switches roles by changing his mask. The supporting actor (Waki) often does not wear a mask nor make up. Furthermore, he maintains an expressionless face. Rather, emotions are displayed through body language and voice. Fewer masks are used in Kyogen than in Noh.

A festive dance called Kagura takes place in the courtyard of a local shrine or on a moving stage with wheels. The moving stage is rolled through the village streets by the towns people. The actors wear comical masks and dance to rhythmical, repetitious, melodies played by flutes and drums.


All fans are made from paper and bamboo. Designs are hand-painted on both front and back.


Prices are quoted in yen. The dollar amounts in parentheses are only for comparison purpose and are based on a 135 yen exchange rate.


Prices are quoted at the beginning of the feature month. We reserve the right to change prices at any time. Please note that we do not update this page to reflect availability of items. If you are interested in purchasing any items, please contact Harumi Antiques.


To see a larger image of each piece, click on the image (~100K).


picture in a new window 1) Noh mask "Zo-onna"
  • A mature woman in her thirties, with an atmosphere of divine purity. Signed Kosun Komatsudani in the artist signed original box.
  • 5½" x 8½"
  • ca. 1950
  • ¥ 140,000($1037), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 2) Noh mask "Waka-onna" (display mask)
  • Young woman, artist unknown.
  • 5½" x 8½"
  • ca. 1950
  • ¥ 50,000 ($370), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 3) Noh mask "Okina"
  • One of the best known masks types. The most senior actor dances for world peace and good harvest on the opening ceremonial stage. The Okina mask is constructed differently from other masks; the lower jaw is carved as a separate piece and attached by string. Signed Joshun Fukakusa in the artist signed original box.
  • 6½" x 8"
  • ca. 1950
  • ¥ 140,000($1,037), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 4) Noh mask "Enmenkaja"
  • Young man endowed with longevity, representing Okina in his youth. Signed Souhou
  • 5½" x 8"
  • ca. 1860
  • ¥ 80,000($590), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 5) Noh mask "Koushijo"
  • Eldery man. Blemishes on cheeks and nose have been touched up. Artist unknown.
  • 7½" x 10"
  • ca. 1850
  • ¥ 48,000($355), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 6) Kyogen mask "Oto(Okame)"
  • The young girl's comical looks represent cuteness and robustness simultaneously. Signed Kosho Tanaka with original box.
  • 5½" x 8"
  • ca. 1950
  • ¥ 90,000(($667), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 7) Kyogen mask "Man"
  • Happy local village worker. Signed Hanyu.
  • 6" x 8½"
  • ca.1930
  • ¥ 40,000 s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 8) Kyogen mask "Okame"
  • Okame's partner is hyottoko. They dance together in Kagura. Signed Mitsunaga Hanyu.
  • 8½" x 9"
  • ca. 1930
  • ¥ 90,000($667), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 9) Noh mask "Hannya"
  • Expresses the fury of a woman turned demon by jealousy and frustration. Small chips on upper part of face. Artist unknown.
  • 6¾" x 18¾"
  • ca. 1850
  • ¥ 80,000( $593), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 10) Noh Mask "Kobeshimi"
  • Sorrowful demon. Small chips on nose and eye brows. Artist unknown.
  • 6¼" x 8"
  • ca. 1870
  • ¥ 80,000 ($593), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 11) Kagura mask "Hyottoko"(or Usofuki in Noh)
  • Partner of Hyottoko is Okame in Kagura. A cloth cover goes over the head of the actor. Artist unknown.
  • 6" x 8"
  • ca. 1900
  • ¥ 75,000($555), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 12) Kyogen mask "Dragon"
  • A wooden stick is attached to the back of the mask for biting. The jaw is separate and moves while the actor dances. Small blemishes on the nose have been touched up. Artist uknown
  • 5" x 9"
  • ca.1830
  • ¥ 55,000($407), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 13) Noh mask "Daruma"
  • Chinese zen priest known for meditating on a rock for 3 years. Small blemishes on the left forehead have been touched up.
  • 6½ x 8½
  • ca. 1850
  • ¥ 85,000($630), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 14) Display mask "Bazara"
  • One of 12 gardians of Yakushinyorai, of Yakushi Temple in Nara. Yakushinyorai cures all illness and diseases on earth. Artist unknown.
  • 6½" x 10¼"
  • ca. 1930
  • ¥ 45,000($333), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 15) Display mask "Amida"
  • Decorated with gold leaf. Artist unknown.
  • 6" x 7½"
  • ca.1700
  • ¥ 75,000($556), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 16) Kyogen mask "Daikoku"
  • One of seven lucky Gods. Signed Johana Takada in original box.
  • 6½" x 7½"
  • ca.1950
  • ¥ 85,000($630), s/h ¥ 6,000($45)
picture in a new window 17) Noh mask "Ko-omote"
  • Mask of a young woman, age 17-18 with an innocent expression. The Ko-omote mask is most often the mask that lures amateurs deep into the fantasy world of Noh drama, making them avid fans. Signed by Tadaharu Ohtsuku, a well recognized Noh mask artist, with original box.
  • 5½" x 8½"
  • contemporary
  • ¥ 140,000($1037), s/h ¥ 7,000($52)
picture in a new window 18) Noh mask "Dei-gan"
  • Woman with golden eyes. The eyes represent an unearthy spirit hidden under the beautiful passionate face. Signed Tadaharu Ohtsuki, a well known modern Noh mask artist, with original box.
  • 5½" x 8½"
  • contemporary
  • ¥ 140,000 ($1037), s/h ¥ 7,000($52)
picture in a new window 19) Noh mask "Okina"
  • One of the best known masks types. The most senior actor dances for world peace and good harvest on the opening ceremonial stage. Okina mask is constructed differently from other masks; the lower jaw is carved as a separate piece and attached by string. Signed Tadaharu Aoki, a well known Noh mask artist, with original box.
  • 6¼" x 7½"
  • contemporary
  • ¥ 130,000 ($963), s/h ¥ 7,000($52)
picture in a new window 20) Noh mask "Hannya"
  • Expresses the fury of a woman turned demon by jealousy and frustration. Signed Tadaharu Aoki, a well known artist, with original box.
  • 6¼" x 9½"
  • contemporary
  • ¥ 130,000($963) s/h ¥ 7,000($52)
picture in a new window 21) Fan for Noh drama
  • 13" x 22"
  • Fan on right: ¥ 15,000($111)
  • Fan on left: ¥ 15,000($111)
  • s/h: additional ¥ 1,400($10) with mask; fan only: ¥ 2,800($20)
picture in a new window 22) Fan for Noh drama
  • 13" x 22"
  • Fan on right: ¥ 8,000($60)
  • Fan on left: ¥ 8,000($60)
  • s/h: additional ¥ 1,400($10) with mask; fan only: ¥ 2,800($20)
picture in a new window 23) Fan for Noh drama
  • 13" x 22"
  • Fan on right: ¥ 6,000(($44)
  • Fan on left: ¥ 6,000($44)
  • s/h: additional ¥ 1,400($10) with mask; fan only: ¥ 2,800($20)

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