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Magojiro Noh Mask

Antique Japanese Carved Hinoki Noh Mask
Mask of Feminine Beauty
Signature: Yamamoto Mata Jiro
Made at
Age of Eighty. Seal: Matado
Circa: Edo, 19th century or earlier

H 8.2 in.(21cm), W 5.25 in.(13.5cm), D 3 in.(7.5cm)
weight: 4.7 oz. minor abrasions
overal very good condition!

Private Collection

Noh Theater began around the 14th century as a ritual offering in Japanese temples and shrines. Among sixty primary designs in Noh masks, two of the most loved onna-men: Ko-Omote represents a girl in her teens, and Magojiro represents a young woman of feminine beauty, a tint of nobility and grace embedded into the perfect symmetry, and a smile no less intriguing than that of Mona Lisa. Hence carving the Magojiro is considered as the ultimate technical challenge and a spiritual quest for mask carvers. Reading from the sumi inscription in the mask interior, we learned that Mata of Yamamoto (in Sanuki Province) carved this masterpiece at the age of eighty. Chisel by chisel, he worked simultaneously in front-and-backside of the mask, and upon completing the carvings, layers of kaolin primer is applied to build-up the paper thin surface, only then multiple coats of white pigment was painted, and finished with a final coat of black lacquer for her hair. In view of this exquisite paper-thin wood mask, the spirit and mystique in the Noh performance is keenly observed in this rare find.

Magojiro  Noh Mask
Ko-Omote Noh Mask
Magojiro - Ko-Omote Noh Mask
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