Gokou 呉公
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Lit. Man of (the country of) Wu 呉, a gigaku mask *gigakumen 伎楽面, the counter-part of the Maid of Wu *Gojo 呉女 and a character in *gigaku 伎楽 performances popular in Japan from the 6 to 12c. The crude *Kuron 崑崙 tries to make love to the Maid of Wu, but is checked by the guardian god *Rikishi 力士. The Man of Wu is mentioned in the SAIDAIJI SHIZAICHOU 西大寺資財帳 (Records of Saidaiji, 780) as wearing a filigree metal crown. While some masks, like the 7c Houryuuji 法隆寺 Gokou still have their crown, many have merely nail holes. A raised helmet-like area painted black represents the hair on quite a few of these masks. The Houryuuji mask, with its archaic smile and sharply upward slanting eyes and eyebrows is highly reminiscent of the Four Guardian *Shitennou 四天王 statues standing in the *Kondou 金堂 of Houryuuji. In the *Shousouin 正倉院, an excellent dry lacquer *kanshitsu 乾漆 Gokou maintains the gentle, dignified expression of a clean-shaven aristocratic man.


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