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Hannya Noh Mask

Yūkan Mitsuyasu Japanese

Not on view

In the second part of the play titled Lady Aoi (Aoi no Ue) by Zeami, based on Chapter 9, “Leaves of Wild Ginger” (Aoi), a mountain monk is summoned to perform a ritual to exorcise the vengeful spirit of Lady Rokujō. The jealousy in her heart is embodied as a female ogre, played by a Noh actor wearing a hannya mask, representing a female serpent-demon. A battle rages between the monk and the demon. Eventually, a Buddhist scripture reaches the lady’s heart, and her ogre aspect is calmed.

The hannya mask has an open mouth, strong jaw, sharp teeth, golden eyes, and two horns. Its expression is simultaneously demonic, angry, frightening, tormented, and sorrowful.

Hannya Noh Mask, Yūkan Mitsuyasu (Japanese, 1577–1652), Wood, gesso, polychrome pigments, and brass and gold accents, Japan

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