Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Ohtsuki Kokun

As part of a year-long celebration of the opening of its Cultural Village, the Portland Japanese Garden held an exhibition of Noh masks and costumes which runs October 14th to December 3rd.  The exhibition includes a selection of 30 hand-carved Noh masks provided by Ohtsuki Kokun and a selection of costumes provided by Orinasu-kan.  

Okina - A peaceful, good-humored deity bringing good fortune, Okina predates Noh theater and is the only mask believed to embody an actual deity.

Kokushikijo - A joyful deity who performs a celebratory harvest dance.

Shishiguchi - The lion performs the dance of paradise in Shakkyo, the only play featuring this mask.

Red Karaori featuring clouds, spherical waves and tatewaku (wavy lines), usually worn for female roles.

Waka Onna - A young, confident woman, Waka Onna appears in many roles.

Magojiro - A bewitching woman, this mask commemorates the deceased wife of the famous Noh actor, Kongo Magojiro.

Zo-onna - A woman of nobility, created by actor Zoami in the 14th century.

Ko-omote - A young woman, Ko-omote is suitable for many, many roles.

Karaori featuring a pattern of weeping cherry blossoms and butterflies, usually worn for a female role.

Yoroboshi - A blind youth, thrown out of his home after being falsely accused.  This mask is only worn in the play Yoroboshi.

Karaori featuring snowflakes patterned with plum blossoms and narcissus, and chrysanthemum flowers alongside bamboo fences.

Obeshimi (left) - A tengu (superhuman) who protects humans from evil spirits and demons.  

Tenjin (right) - After a series of disasters followed the exile of statesman Sugawara no Michizane, he was deified as Tenjin in hopes of preventing more catastrophes. Tenjin is also worn for the role Amatsu-kami, guardian of Buddhist law.

Ko-beshimi (left) - A demon of sorrow.

Yaseotoko/Emaciated Man (right) - A ghost tormented in hell, Yaseotoko can either be a man who has killed or a man who believed too strongly that life wasn't treating them fairly.

Shikami/Biting Lion (left) - A terrifying and violent demon, usually wearing a long red wig.

Ishiojo (right) - A benevolent spirit.

Fudo (left) - Representing the Buddhist deity Fudomyoo, Fudo fiercely protects believers from evil spirits.

Rojokomachi (right) - Based on the poet Ono no Komachi, though old and impoverished, she remains strong.

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