Somakusha 蘇莫者
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
*Bugaku 舞楽 dance and mask *bugakumen 舞楽面 of a bestial creature. Classification (for terms see bugaku ): a dance of the Left sa-no-mai 左舞 said to have been introduced from China tougaku 唐楽. The piece combines two legends, one about the flute-playing mountain ascetic *En no Gyouja 役行者(act 7c) and the other about Prince Shoutoku (see *Shoutoku Taishizou 聖徳太子) playing his flute for the god of Mt. Shigi 信貴. Today an unmasked flautist plays a solo piece on stage. Two recent masks labeled Somakusha are housed at Itsukusima Jinja 厳島神社, Hiroshima prefecture and Shitennouji 四天王寺, Osaka. Both masks show a long -haired, monkey-like face with large round eyeballs, profuse wrinkles and dangling tongue. On the other hand, the 12c sketches of old performances Shinzei kogaku-zu 信西古楽図 (Tokyo University of Fine Arts), depicts a goggle-eyed, leering, one-horned figure, not dissimilar to an unidentified mask in the *Shousouin 正倉院 (8c) of a horned and tusked animal face.


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