|KEY WORD : art history / sculptures|
noh mask *noumen 能面 representing
a Zen temple boy in training who serves in the mess room and also entertains.
The mask shows a youth of between twelve and seventeen years of age, very charming
with an almost feminine allure seen in the bangs and curl of the lips and dimples
in the cheeks. The eyes are typical of young men's masks with slightly rounded
pupils and the eyebrows rise up pertly. Two styles of bangs, either straight across
the forehead (kasshiki such as the Muromachi period example in the Houshou
宝生 collection designated an Important Cultural Property), or flaring out like
a ginko leaf (ichou kasshiki 銀杏喝食, such as the Muromachi period mask owned
by the Kanze 観世 school), characterize two styles of kasshiki mask. The
latter are further classified by size. Today the three types are known as 'large',
'medium', and 'small', which is intended to suggest gradations of age of the role
as well. Three plays use kasshiki masks: JINEN KOJI 自然居士, TOUGAN
KOJI 東岸居士, and KAGETSU 花月. In all three the main actor, as lay priest
or temple boy, performs a dance while beating a drum tied to his waist. The earliest
mask is attributed to the 15c carver Ishikawa Tatsuemon 石川龍石衛門 (see *jissaku
十作). A fine example with inscription attributing it to the late 15c carver Haruwaka
春若 is designated an Important Cultural Property.
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