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Noh Mask: Okina

Artist:
Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)
Period:
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Date:
dated 1879
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; colored lacquer with mother-of-pearl, gold and ink on paper
Dimensions:
11 3/8 x 16 1/8 in. (28.9 x 41 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.268.136
Not on view
Among all Noh masks, the Okina (old man) mask is considered particularly sacred and has been at times treated as the embodiment of god, bringing longevity and prosperity to families. This sacred mask is discreetly shown here peering from a mask bag that is richly embellished with the auspicious motifs of a tortoise-shell pattern and a circular crane design. Zeshin has used lacquer painting with inlays of mother-of-pearl and gold fragments. The painting would have been displayed on auspicious occasions to express celebratory wishes for longevity. The ivory roller ends have been decorated in lacquer by Ikeda Taishin (1825–1903), Zeshin's student.
Signature: Koma Zeshin, age 73

Marking: Seal: Tairyukyo
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