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Noh Mask: Koomote

Abstract

One of the earliest Noh masks to be developed, Koomote represents the countenance of a calm young woman, her neatly arranged hair parted in the middle, with three loose, but not overlapping, strands on either side. Ko (small), the first Japaanese character of the two that form the word koomote, suggests the youth, freshness and charm embodied in this mask. Reflecting the standard of beauty from the Heian period on, the oval face is full, with eyebrows shaved and repainted high on the wide forehead. The teeth are blackened (ohaguro), with a paste made of powdered iron filings and gall nuts steeped in vinegar or tea; this was a cosmetic fashion adopted by young women on coming of age. Although Koomote represents a general character type, subtle differences among masks are apparent. Some emphasize youthful freshness, some refinement, some a delicately erotic charm. - Matshushima Ken

Note

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Administrative Notes

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
St. Olaf College
PID
coccc:23754
Extent
478 w x 768 h, 72 ppi