Shinnou 秦王
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Abbreviation of Shinnou hajinraku 秦王破陣楽 (Victorious dance of King Shin), also known as Shinkou hajinraku 神功破陣楽. A *bugaku 舞楽 dance and its mask *bugakumen 舞楽面 representing an armoured warrior, possibly the Tang dynasty figure Taizong (Jp: Taisou 太宗, 598-649). Classified (see bugaku for meaning of terms) as a military dance bu-no-mai 武舞 of the Left sa-no-mai 左舞 introduced from China tougaku 唐楽, it was typically performed by four dancers dressed in full armor, who much resembled the *shitennou 四天王 guardian statues of the Nara period. Said to commemorate the founding of the Tang dynasty in China, the dance was composed during the early 7c. Early records indicate that during the Nara period large scale, battle-like performances of Shinnou were staged, but later references are scattered and few. The only example of a Shinnou mask extant is the one at Sumiyoshi Taisha 住吉大社, Osaka, dated 1288, showing a strong-willed, determined face. The taut cheeks and set mouth, the fixed eyes, bushy eyebrows and beard all speak of courage, strength, and endurance. The treatment of the eyes and lively painting of the swirling mustache are stylistic elements that may have influenced the style of 15c noh masks *noumen 能面 representing warriors and strong gods, such as *Heita 平太 and *Tenjin 天神.


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