myouga akujou 茗荷悪尉
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
A noh mask *noumen 能面 representing a fierce, old man. The shape of the eyes with a sharp turn upward of the inner corner and a slight turn downward of the outer edge resembles the shape of the plant myouga akujou, zingiber bracts, from which the mask received its name. The upward swerve of the inner eye corner makes for a very long nose bridge and imparts a sense of abstraction. Eyeballs are of inserted metal. A thin-boned nose ends in a point. Horsehair is implanted for the beard and moustache, and the mask is painted a bright, earthy yellow color. Myouga akujou is used for the messenger of the gods in DOUMYOUJI 道明寺, for the old wizard in NEZAME 寝覚 and at times for the Chinese Chang Liang in CHOURYOU 張良. Attributed to Fukuhara Bunzou 福原文蔵 (15c; see *jissaku 十作). An excellent example from the Muromachi period with strong features carved from camphor wood is housed in Shirahige Jinja 白髭神社 in Shiga prefecture. A mask with similar use but reddish-white coloring is amazakuro akujou 甘柘榴悪尉 (sweet persimmon evil old man). Similar but used specifically for the ghost of the old gardener in KOI-NO-OMONI 恋重荷 is omoni akujou 重荷悪尉.

*ooakujou 大悪尉, *kijinmen 鬼神面 

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