kantan otoko 邯鄲男
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also kantan. Man from Kantan. A noh mask *noumen 能面 originally made for the role of Rosei 盧生 in the play KANTAN 邯鄲. Travelling in search of enlightenment, Rosei naps at an inn where he rests his head on the pillow of Kantan and sees himself in a dream as great and powerful. On awaking, he realizes it was only a vision, and reconciled to his life, returns to his native village. The mask is modeled so that subtle movement evokes expressions both of his melancholy skepticism and of enlightened clarity. Furrows line the tensed eyebrows, rounded eyes look down, but the cheeks are full and muscular and the mouth has a hint of a smile exposing two rows of half-blackened teeth. The small black mustache and eyebrows line the ridges formed by the lips and bone structure. Compared with the delicate features of masks for noblemen, like *chuujou 中将 and atsumori 敦盛, kantan otoko has the strength of a commoner. It is this strength, and clarity of expression when the lines of trouble above the eyes are covered by headgear, that has led to the use of this mask since the Momoyama period for roles of vigorous gods, such as Sumiyoshi Myoujin 住吉明神 in the play TAKASAGO 高砂. It can also be used for the commoners in OMINAESHI 女郎花 and UTAURA 歌占. The mask type is said to have been created by the 15c carver Tokuwaka 徳若 (see *jissaku 十作).

*otokomen 男面, *wakaotoko 若男

(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.