|KEY WORD :@art history / sculptures|
of oumi. A noh mask *noumen
\Κ representing a young-to-middle-aged woman. The high, thin eyebrows and hair
strands are similar to *wakaonna
α, but the heavier eye lids whose outer corners droop down, the tighter lips,
and the less-full cheeks lend the mask a maturity and strong emotionalism. A sense
of lurking coquetry can be seen in the scarlet flush to the upper lip and cheeks.
The lower teeth, barely visible behind the lip, form a unique feature not seen
in any other women's masks and suggest oumionna's tenacity of attachment.
The expressive immediacy of this mask typifies a commoner, as opposed to a court
lady, more appropriately represented by a mask of elegant reserve, such as *fushikizou
ίΨ or wakaonna. The slightly rounded pupil openings of oumionna,
reminiscent of *deigan Dα,
reflect an old prototype used by the oumi sarugaku ί]\y troup centered
at the southern edge of Lake Biwa ϊi. The oumi sarugaku women's masks,
with their strong emotional appeal, were to inspire the women's masks of the yamato
sarugaku εa\y troupes (the ancestors of the modern noh schools).
Oumionna can be used by all schools for roles of intense passion, such as the dancer who once wished to marry an unrequiting priest appearing in the first act of DOUJOUJI Ή¬, or a village woman who later turns into a venomous spirit in SESSHOUSEKI EΆΞ (Death Rock). An old mask attributed to the Muromachi period carver Echi zq and possibly that which Zeami Motokiyo ’’ν³΄ (1363-1443) comments on as being "mature, yet fleshy" in the SARUGAKU DANGI \yk` (1430), is presently owned by the head of the Kanze Ο’ school.
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