Shintoriso 新鳥蘇
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
A bugaku dance and mask depicting a clown face. Classification (for terms see *bugaku 舞楽): a quiet dance hiramai 平舞 of the Right u-no-mai 右舞 originated in Korea komagaku 高麗楽 and is performed in unison by four or six people. The Shintoriso mask sparkles with amusement: the eyes are reduced to curved slits topped by elegant eyebrows, the lips parted in gentle laughter; the ends of the mustache and goatee trail off in ringlets. The white oval face with bright red spots with black dots that decorate the cheeks is uncannily reminiscent of Pierrot. Some experts have drawn parallels with Javanese masks. When worn, the upper part of the mask is covered by a striped cloth cap topped by a hat. The oldest of the ten masks known to have survived from the Heian period is housed at Tamukeyama Jinja 手向山神社, Nara, and probably dates from 1042. A painted mustache can be made out on what is left of the white kaolin *hakudo 白土 over-coat. The other Shintoriso masks all date from the 12c; those at Houryuuji 法隆寺 being of an earlier, freer style than those carved by Inshou 印勝 (1185) at Kasuga Taisha 春日大社. The Kasuga masks are layered with cloth in addition to a hard base under the kaolin finish, and are a good example of the elegant fully mature style of bugaku masks *bugakumen 舞楽面.


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