Sessen 石川
KEY WORD :  art history / sculptures
Stone River, a bugaku 舞楽 mask *bugakumen 舞楽面 representing an elegant, manly face with a bright smile and a small goatee beard. Over the eager eyes are thick eyelids and, clean, sweeping eyebrows. The hairline is a straight black, slightly raised strip across the forehead. Only two examples of the mask remain. The older one at Houryuuji 法隆寺 has full, taut cheeks and deeper modelling, and dates to the late 10c or early 11c. It is more refined than the other one at Chougosonshiji 朝護孫子寺, Nara, most likely a Kamakura piece. Among the most natural and relaxed of bugaku masks, Sessen masks bear similarities to Shinto sculpture. The most recent recorded performance of the dance for which these masks were used was in 1135. The content is unclear, though it is thought to have been a dance of the Rright u-no-mai 右舞 introduced to Japan through Korea komagaku 高麗楽.


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