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  • Thumbnail for Noh Mask: Usobuki
    Noh Mask: Usobuki

    Kyogen, the comic drama in which such subjects as old tales and the problems of real peopple are treated with humorous actions and witty dialogue, uses some masks, though the number of mask types is much mor limited than for Noh. In contrast to the serious quality of Noh masks, those for Kyogen are characterized by their humorous nature, with amused expressions, or by deliberate exaggeration and distortion. Usobuki represents the latter type. The name implies several possible meanings, including to feign innocence, to whistle, or to shape the mouth as though blowing a fire. The mask is worn by both human characters and the spirits of fragile creatures such as the moth, mosquito, or cicada. - Matshushima Ken

  • Thumbnail for Furisode
    Furisode

    The furisode (swinging sleeves) is a type of kosode distinguished by sleeves that hang free of the main body of the garment, below the arm. Although in the early part of the Edo period the sleeves of the furisode were not especially long, they gradually increased in length so that by the latter half of the period, sleeves as long as ninety cm were made. The furisode was worn on special occasions by children and young women. This refined example could have been worn by a woman of the samurai class. - Kawakami Shigeki

  • Thumbnail for Kariginu or Noh "Hunting Robe"
    Kariginu or Noh "Hunting Robe"

    The kariginu, literally hunting robe," was originally an informal jacket worn by men of the court class in the Heian period. In the medieval era it was adapted by elite samurai as their most formal garment. It is thought that the kariginu first used in Noh performances were those actually worn by samurai aristocrats. In the Edo period the kariginu was established as a Noh costume, and these kariginu for the stage were made larger than the kariginu for daily wear from which they had originated. in Noh, the kariginu is regarded as the most imortant outer garment for male roles." - Kawakami Shigeki.

  • Thumbnail for Noh Mask: Shikami
    Noh Mask: Shikami

    Shikami is one of the demon masks. His threatening expression, with scoowling eyes and bared fanglike teeht, well conveys his ferocity. Furrows are intensified with red and, as was often done in Noh demon masks to manifest rage, the eyes are highlighted in gold. - Matsushima Ken

  • Thumbnail for Covered Dish
    Covered Dish

    Mino ware, Green Oribe type. This covered dish is a product of the Mino multi-chambered or "climbing" kilns, which produced Oribe ceramics characterized by an iridescent green copper glaze and underglaze iron drawing.

  • Thumbnail for Ashikaga Yoshimasa
    Ashikaga Yoshimasa

    This portrait done with ink and color and gold leaf on silk is believed to be of the eighth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimasa.

  • Thumbnail for Go Set
    Go Set

    Go set decorated with maki-e lacquer on wood.

  • Thumbnail for Noh Mask: Uba
    Noh Mask: Uba

    Uba, the mask of an old woman, is used primarily in Takasage, a play in which an old woman and her husband represent the spirits of two pine trees. On his way to the capital, Tomonari, a Shinto priest from he shrine of Aso in Kyushu, rests beneath the pines along the shore at Takasago in Harima Province. The old couple appear and sweep beneath the pines. They tell the priest of two aged pines, one here in Takasago and the other at Sumiyoshi in Settsu Province and of their auspicious associations. Tomonari goes to Sumiyoshi in the second half of the play, and a deity appears and performs a god dance. The Uba mask came to be also used for the roles of ordinary old women in other Noh plays. Typically, the eyes are carved as they are for the mask of a blind person. - Matshushima Ken

  • Thumbnail for Chujo mask
    Chujo mask

    The Chujo mask represents a young aristocrat of early times, with light complexion, high painted eyebrows, and teeth blackened (ohaguro). Traditionally, this mask type is said to have been modeled after Ariwa no Narihira, the famous poet of the Heian period whose court rank was chujo, middle captain, in the headquarters of the Inner Palace Guards. The Chujo mask is used for the role of Prince Genji in the Tale of Genji, and for other courtiers. While Chujo is typically carved with a melancholic exprssion and knitted brows, these ualities are especially formalized and given emphasis in this mask. It was owned by the Konparu family, one of the four main groups of Noh actors. - Matsushima Ken