Noh Mask: Hannya

Noh Mask: Hannya
Color on wood (hinoki cypress); mask length 21.1 cm; Edo period, 17th century; Gift of the Ii Family

This mask represents a vengeful and jealous woman turned demon. With two horns on the forehead, it has the fierce and wrathful look of someone bent on revenge. Hannya masks are required not only to be fearsome but also to exude dignity and refinement. The creator of this one, Iseki Ieshige (1581–1657), was an early Edo-period master mask-maker. Granted the title of honor “Kawachi-no-daijō,” he was also known as “Kawachi.” On the right side of the forehead on the back of the mask are a number of radial chisel strokes, the trademark shirase-ganna identifying Ieshige’s work.

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