asakurajou 朝倉尉
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
A noh mask *noumen 能面, representing an old man. The broad bone structure, direct glance, slightly smiling mouth disclosing two rows of teeth, and the real hair (rather than paint) of the moustache all lend the mask a rustic and healthy look, contrasting with the elegant dignity of the old man's mask koushijou 小牛尉. The open expression of the mask makes it ideal for roles such as old fishermen or farmers in the first act of warrior plays, like YASHIMA 八島 or TADANORI 忠度. The original mask was made by the early 15c carver Fukurai 福来 (see *jissaku 十作) and now is owned by the Kanze 観世 family in Tokyo and designated an Important Cultural Property. According to one account, the name for the mask derives from the fact that Fukurai presented it to the daimyou 大名 Asakura 朝倉. Other accounts of the origin of this name include associations with poems in the text of YASHIMA and a pun on the characters used to write the name making him the 'old man of the brightening dawn.' The last explanation well describes the personality of the mask.

*joumen 尉面 

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