Antique Japanese Carved Hinoki Noh Mask
Thousand Amorous Glances
Signed: Ichiko Saku. Circa: Taisho, 1912-26
Condition: Net weight: 5 oz. overall very good condition!
H 8.5 in.(22cm), W 5.25 in.(13.5cm), D 3 in.(7.5cm)
Noh Theater began around the 14th century as a ritual offering in Japanese temples and shrines. Among sixty primary Noh masks, Ko Omote and Magojiro masks are the paradigms of twenty other onna-men beauties. They are the ultimate technical challenge and a spiritual quest for mask carvers. As Ko-Omote (Little Face) represents a beautiful girl in her teens, similar features are portrayed in the Manbi 万媚. In translations, her name means “A Thousand Seductive Glances.” Hence the characteristics of Manbi are bolder, with heavier eyebrows and thick rouge on the lips that are insinuated with a seductive mien of demonic nature. The mask is signed Ichiko Saku 一香作 on the backside. He is a Taisho-era carver whose mastery carving skill created this exquisite paper-thin wood mask, completed with layers of kaolin primer for the surface. Aside from some yellowing lacquer on the gesso, the spirit and mystique in the Noh performance are keenly observed in this Manbi Noh mask. Overall in excellent condition.